Tortoise evolution

tortoise fossil

I was really excited to see this proto-tortoise fossil, which give us an insight into the chain of events that lead to the evolution of the tortoises shell (image from BBC, here). This was especially the case as I’ve had tortoise on the brain, with the Aldabran giant tortoises at work (Twycross Zoo) exploring their new outdoor enclosure and this open access paper that completely rearranges the position of tortoises and turtles in the reptile family tree.

I couldn’t believe that no turtle or tortoise had been sequenced before – so I’m glad we’ve managed to now, especially since it changes a massive part of the taxonomy of the aminotes.


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