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How The Turtle Got Its Shell?

How The Turtle Got Its Shell

Are they aliens? Did turtles come from space? Were they always like this?

These are some of the Frequently Asked Questions regarding the shells of turtles, and have no doubt about it; there are a lot of myths out there regarding the subject of how the turtles got their shells.

In this article, we are going to try to bust some of these myths and shed some light on how the turtle got its shell.

Fossil Study Results

Fossil study is one of the best sources to know about the history of a particular animal. The fossils of turtles have been studied extensively over time, and till recent history, it was thought that these animals were around 210 Million years old. That fossil, however, looked almost identical to the modern-day turtle, and the question was still there and had no answer to it, that is, how did the turtle get its shell.

However, in 2008, a new fossil of a Chinese-originated turtle was discovered that had half of a shell on it. Upon further study, it was cleared that this turtle was present even 10 million years before the previously oldest known turtle. This meant that the turtles were on earth for more than 220 million years.

The fossil study clearly shows that the shell of the turtle is a result of the evolution process and most paleontologists and zoologists believe that the shell was developed to protect the turtle from severe predators.

Some Hypothesis

There are several hypotheses on this topic, but we cannot call out a single one as correct, and neither can we discard any of the hypotheses because of the lack of concrete results on the topic.

However, there has been continuous research regarding this topic, and soon we will finally be able to know how turtles got the shell.

Some of the hypotheses are :

  • The turtles evolved a shell to protect their otherwise weak body.

  • The shells were always present.

  • There is a missing link that helped them to get the shells.

All in all, we can say that this is one of the highly popular topics among zoologists, and we are going to get an answer sooner rather than later.


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