How about a galapagos sized shell bump for River Grace, who won a place as one of the Broadcom MASTERS competition finalists, with his research on the seriously endangered Radiated tortoise. He noticed some interesting behavior from these shells when it rained. They seemed to do a dance. 

At 14, he went on to study this behavior for his research project and won his prestigious position while adding to the limited knowledge of these amazing tortoises. He says he hopes to continue doing conservation work in the future and gives many of us hope that future generations will keep on working to understand and prevent the extinction of our shelled friends. <3 

(Source: FloridaToday)

While visiting a Florida Tech facility that breeds tortoises with his father, West Shore Jr./Sr. High School student, River Grace, noticed something strange.

When it rained, certain tortoises appeared to dance. They stood tall, wiggled their legs, lifted them up and down and scratched them together.

Intrigued, the now 14-year-old decided to study the behavior for the science fair last spring.

His project, titled “Rain Dance of the Radiata: Behavior of the Endangered Radiated Tortoise and Related Species,” was recently chosen as one of 30 finalists in the national Broadcom MASTERS competition

While researching the Radiated Tortoise, River realized that not much is known about the species, which is only found in southern Madagascar. It’s critically endangered, and scientists estimate it could be extinct in the next 20 years

In some experiments, River simulated rain by using a water sprinkler and watching to see if males reacted differently than females, or if hatchlings reacted differently than adults. He found that gender did not play a role, but age did.

In addition, he tested six other species of tortoises, from other parts of the world. They did not behave the same way in the rain

River believes the dance may be a cleaning routine, which he wants to study further.

He’s also interested in conservation research that could help the species survive.

“We don’t know much about them, and of the scientific papers and all the information I could find, there’s hardly anything,” he said.

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