Monday, January 23, 2012

Turtle Power!

Turtles are one of the oldest animals dating back to 215 million years ago, this makes turtles older than snakes, lizards and crocodiles.  Turtles are divided into two groups by how they retract their neck into shells.  One group compresses their spine while the other puts their head to the side.  Turtles like all reptiles lay eggs.  In some species of turtles the temperature that the egg develops determines in the baby will be male or female.  Higher temperature causes females, and lower temperatures cause males.  This is a phenomenon known as Temperature-Dependent  Sex Determination.  The exact reason why turtles and some reptiles and birds have TSD is unknown but theorized that it is advantageous to have females earlier in the season so they have more time to grow and be ready to mate sooner.  But there is little evidence showing turtles actively choose their offspring's sex.

Sea turtles have a special gland in the corner of their eye to get rid of excess salt.  They live in sea water and eat jellyfish and other prey with high salt concentrations.  Now I think of this special salt gland and think of how can it be used in humans.  Well kidney failure patients have a horrible time dealing with their salt regulation, if the same chemicals and processes in the sea turtle eye gland could be replicated it could help many people currently undergoing dialysis.

The Alligator Snapping Turtle is built like a tank, with a huge head and heavily plated back with three rows.  Algae will often grow on their shells allowing them to fully blend in underwater.  Inside the turtles mouth is a small appendage that looks like a small worm to draw fish in, once there their powerful jaws snap down!

Well hopefully I have taught you a little more than what you already knew thanks to teenage mutant ninja turtles...  That's all for now,

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