It’s Turtles All The Way Down.

7 comments December 12th, 2006at 12:04pm Posted by Eli

Today’s NYT Science Times section has a great article on turtles. It’s too long and too juicy to excerpt, so I will just summarize some highlights, in no particular order:

o Everyone loves turtles, because they’re clumsy and harmless and slow. I would also add non-allergenic and often rather cute.

o For all intents and purposes, turtles do not age. Their organs do not deteriorate at all as they get older. (On the other hand, it takes some sea turtles 40-50 years to finish puberty, which might explain why they abandon their eggs.)

o Turtles can stop their hearts at will.

o Turtles are incredibly strong, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to move at all, due to the awkward angle their shells force their legs into.

o Forest turtles can spot bodies of water from a mile away, and some turtles may communicate through ground-transmitted subsonics.

o The turtle shell is part of their skeleton, comprised mostly of modified ribs and vertebrae.

o There are turtles on every continent, and in most habitats, except Antarctica.

o There are turtles that eat jellyfish, ice cream, and human corpses (not the same turtle).

o Other than disease, Man is pretty much the only threat to an adult turtle, primarily through habitat destruction and running over with cars.

o The male Gibba turtle apparently has “the sex appeal of a floating toupee.”

Curiously, there is no mention of Senator John Cornyn anywhere in the story.

Entry Filed under: Favorites,Science


  • 1. V  |  December 12th, 2006 at 1:06 pm

    I want one of those turtles that eats human corpses. He will be my best friend, and together we will rule the earth.

  • 2. SwimDeep AKA HopeSpringsATurtle  |  December 12th, 2006 at 2:36 pm

    Gee whiz Eli, thanks for the turtle story, I always thought you might have a little crush on Good stuff thanks.

  • 3. lotus  |  December 12th, 2006 at 4:37 pm

    I want to cut that main pinup — the hooked-snouty guy — loose on the Oval and the OVP. Right after he’s fasted for three months. In fact, make that a herd of ’em.

  • 4. Eli  |  December 12th, 2006 at 4:59 pm

    I’m a sucker for an ageless woman with powerful snapping jaws – but even more so for one who wants to rule the world with a corpse-eating turtle at her side.

    I like the idea of Turtle Mayhem in the Oval Office – I’m not sure if the buggers would be fast enough, but I guess if there were *enough* of them it wouldn’t matter.

    Which reminds me – the story didn’t say anything about “post turtles” either…

  • 5. lotus  |  December 12th, 2006 at 5:14 pm

    Yer right, Eli, it didn’t. And I’m glad, too, cause post turkles allus make me sad.

  • 6. lotus  |  December 12th, 2006 at 5:30 pm

    Meant to say: my fave was certainly the little guy who stands on his hind legs for his ice cream. Now THERE’s a turtle.

  • 7. Eli  |  December 12th, 2006 at 6:21 pm

    I thought that was charming as well, and I almost included it. But ultimately decided that it was perhaps not a sufficiently… universal Fascinating True Turtle Fact.

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