Study finds turtles are closer kin to birds, crocodiles than to lizards, snakes

by Eric Gershon

What are turtles, and where did they come from?

Precise answers to these questions have long eluded scientists. But new research led by Daniel Field of Yale University and the Smithsonian Institution recasts the turtle’s disputed evolutionary history, providing fresh evidence that the familiar reptiles are more closely related to birds and crocodiles than to lizards and snakes.

“These observations address one of the defining biological questions of the past decade, helping us illuminate the murkier reaches of reptile evolution,” said Field, a doctoral candidate in geology and geophysics at Yale and a predoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. “We show that turtles share a more recent common ancestor with birds and crocodilians — a group known as archosaurs — than with lizards and snakes.”

Field and collaborators report their findings May 5 in the journal Evolution and Development…

(read more: Yale News)

image of Painted Turtle, via: Shutterstock

“I’m ready for my close up human…”

Zoya’s  been working on her more serious poses..to diversify her portfolio. Ever since she heard I was going to LA she thinks I’ll find her an agent… something about having more skills than the two Russians that play Clyde on Elementary. guess I’ve raised her with the right amount of self-esteem 😉 


#mother #tortoise quality time. Hank had a bath and mommy is #reading to him while he dries and basks. Look how he’s hugging me.
Real talk: he’s so heavy I couldn’t take a full breath. I think he caused my right lung to collapse. Four years ago I wouldn’t of felt a thing if he was on my back. Fast forward four years and I’ll be on his back.

Update on sunday’s breaking #turtle news! 

While it was originally thought that Tommy the Turtle received more appropriate praise for his dive into the lake this year, it seems those rumors were false. As you can see, PGA commentators were less than kind when  scoring this fine neck extension dive, clearly choreographed for the camera this year (see 2011s footage and comments about grace for context)

It’s clear that poor tommy the turtle’s skills, and species as he is not a snapping turtle, are lost on these commentators. Alas, it will only serve as fodder for what will likely be an even grander gesture at next years competition. 

You go tommy! We here at tort time give you a 10 out of 10 on the #turtpocalypse scale of world domination! 

Breaking #Turtle News!

‘Tommy the Turtle’ just made his 3rd appearance at #TPCSawgrass this year, ending his visit with a beautiful dive back into the lake. This earned him an 8 from the commentators, a higher score than he received 2 years ago. Questional judgment in our opinions. 

Yesterday, seen above, he decided to wander onto the green, delaying play for a short while. It seemed obvious to us that he was simply verifying the distance to the 17th hole. Math is hard for humans. 

More as it becomes available as well as analysis of the dive video from an expert perspective!