The Origin of the Turtle Shell Unsolved

A team of researchers from Japan has finally solved the riddle of the origin of the Turtle shell.
By observing the development of different animal species and confirming their results with fossil analysis and genomic data, researchers from the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology show that the shell on the turtle's back derives only from its ancestors' ribcage and not from a combination of internal and external bone structures as is often thought.

Their study is published today in the journal Nature Communications. The skeleton of vertebrates has evolved throughout history from two different structures, called the endo- and exoskeleton.
The origin of the shell on the turtle's back, or Carapace, was unclear until now because it comprises parts of obvious endoskeletal origin and others that look more like the exoskeleton of alligators and fish. The outer part of the turtle carapace was thought to have derived from exoskeleton bones, while the internal part has been shown to originate from ribs and vertebrae and to be connected to the internal skeleton of the animal. However, no direct evidence has been obtained to show that the bony structures developing outside the ribcage in turtles derived from the exoskeleton.
Source: Sciencedaily

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