Turtle Shell

The turtle shell is a highly complicated shield for the ventral and dorsal parts of the turtle, completely enclosing all the vital organs of the turtle and in some cases even the head. It is constructed of modified bony elements such as the ribs, parts of the pelvis and other bones found in most reptiles. Therefore turtles have no backs. The bone of the shell consists of both skeletal and dermal bone, showing that the complete enclosure of the shell probably evolved by including dermal armor into the rib cage.

The shell of the turtle is an important study, not just because of the obvious protection it provides for the animal, but also as an identification tool, in particular with fossils as the shell is one of the likely parts of a turtle to survive fossilization. Hence understanding the structure of the shell in living species gives us comparable material with fossils.

Read more about Turtle ShellShell Nomenclature, Carapace, Plastron, Scutes, See Also, External Links

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Famous quotes containing the words shell and/or turtle:

    I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
    Isaac Newton (1642–1727)

    The second day of Christmas,
    My true love sent to me
    Two turtle doves,
    —Unknown. The Twelve Days of Christmas (l. 4–6)