Researchers from the University of South Alabama (United States), the University of Oporto (Portugal), Yale University (United States) and the University of Montpellier (France) point out that a type of shell could evolve so that, falling on their backs, turtles could turn around and thus reduce the danger of death.
The giant tortoises of Galapagos have mainly two types of shells according to their morphology: turtles with dome-shaped shells, and others with the form of a saddle, and they are usually found in different habitats. For example, turtles with saddle shells live in dry environments, turtles with a dome-shaped shell are found in more humid, colder, and higher-altitude habitats.
“Galápagos giant tortoises commonly walk on irregular surfaces, and often fall backwards between rocks. If they take a long time to turn around again they may have less chance of mating and more likely to die, “explain the authors of the work, published in ‘Scientific Reports’.
Therefore, they consider that “several features associated with the shell in the form of a chair could have evolved to facilitate self-turning” and added that “extending the studies to the functional performance of the feet of these turtles would be key to obtain more information on the value adaptive of these traits”, they add. (Source: CGP / DICYT)
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