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A fossil research helps to know how did the turtles get their shell?


Scientists have wondered for years, How did the turtle get its shell? A new fossil research is providing some clues. The evolution of turtles into their modern form which fused a shell to their skeleton and a beak- like face without teeth has been referred as ‘one of evolution’s most enduring puzzles’.

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The fossils of early turtles have been found which generates curiosity to know how the creature developed its unique features and even which ancestors they evolved from.

According to research published on Thursday in the journal Nature, this curiosity has been answered by examining a turtle fossil discovered in China that dates back to 228 million years.

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The skeleton not only has a beak, but also some teeth, suggesting it may be a ‘missing link’ in the evolution from an earlier toothy turtle to today’s form.

Chun Li, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing and co-author of the paper on the fossil dubbed Eorhynchochelys said, “This is the first early fossil turtle with a beak.”

He told AFP, “The interesting thing is that although a beak had developed, the teeth were preserved, so it is a half-beak, half-toothed jaw — an excellent transitional characteristic.”

Chun has spent the last 20 years studying reptile fossils in China’s Guizhou province, where the 220-million-year-old turtle was also found.

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