Turtles are worthy objects of research

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Paleontologists in Utah are investigating the muscular-electrical phenomena of turtle chewing by using sophisticated electromyographs, hightech gadgets that chart each muscle’s physiological activity.(Animatronic dinosaur) Field paleontologists at Berkeley are mapping the historical details of turtle evolution through Cretaceous and Paleocene strata. An eminent New York anatomist is completely revising the turtle family tree. (animatronic dinosaur costume)In scientific meetings all over the country the Turtle Renaissance is shaking old-time zoology out of its complacency with the message: Turtles are complex, turtles are successful, turtles are worthy objects of research.


The total turtle count—two hundred and thirty species— doesn’t seem like an irresistible horde compared to the several thousand mammals in today’s global ecosystem. However, turtles have scored quite an impressive ecological triumph in one very important role, that of freshwater predator-omnivore. (dinosaur costume)Gavin Maxwell’s Ring of Bright Water is an absolutely charming otters’ tale, the story of these sleek-furred aquatic mammals that frolic in the Scottish streams, catching salmon and crayfish and stirring up warm bemusement in human onlookers.


All through the Temperate Zone, otters delight the naturalist and the lay public. But how many other freshwater, semi-aquatic mammal predators can you name? Mink, of course. Relatives of otters on one hand, land weasels on the other, mink do hunt in streams. (animatronic dinosaur for sale)How many others? If you caught the excellent BBC series “Life on Earth,” you saw footage of the swimming shrew, the Desman of the Pyrenees, a molelike furball that dives for aquatic worms and other freshwater small fry. Our own New England star-nosed mole goes hunting in water, using its starburst-shaped snout tip to feel out wriggling prey. Andean streams flowing through Peru are host to the fish-spearing mouse, Ichthyomys, that impales prey on its projecting front teeth.(animatronic animal) But if we go to a tropical lake or sluggish river, is it full of otters, mink, and paddling shrews? No, it is full of turtles. The mass of tropical turtledom far exceeds the Mammalia in numbers of species in the aquatic-predator category. A few tropical otters do exist, and Uganda can boast of the giant otter shrew (a full two pounds in weight), but a single Congolese river system can display a dozen and a half specialized turtles, swimming after prey, eating fallen fruit and leaves, walking along the river bottom, scavenging pieces of hippo carcass.