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The Boston Globe

Science

How did the turtle get its shell?

How did the turtle get its shell?

It’s a question so obvious a schoolchild can ask it, but for more than a century, consensus has eluded the paleontologists and evolutionary biologists who study the reptiles and their bony carapaces. Now, a group of scientists at Yale University and the Smithsonian Institution argue that a reptile fossil that’s been gathering dust in museum collections is actually a turtle ancestor, and that its reduced number of ribs, distribution of muscles, and T-shaped ribs could help settle the question once and for all.

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