Friday, May 4, 2007

Turtle Tortoise

This morning we walked around North Lake and just off the track found the shell of a long neck tortoise. The crows had done a pretty good job of removing most of the flesh and what was left was just right for our daughter Helen's primary school class. When we got home I washed it thoroughly and had a closer inspection of it....amazing stuff.

The top part of the shell, the carapace, is joined to the bottom part, the plastron. The spine is fused to the inside of the carapace and there are what look like ribs radiating out from the spine. At the rear there is a pelvis on which ball joints for the rear legs are visible. At the front is another very human touch with twin scapula. I'm with Mr Darwin!

The second photo shows the spine fused to the carapace and the pelvic girdle.

Gathering some information for Helen I found out that turtles and tortoises are very similar; turtles mainly living in the sea or fresh waters. The tortoise lives a fair bit of its life on land.
They, both of the order testudines, are the only reptiles with shells.

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