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Re: Turtle ancestry (somewhat off-topic)



T.A. Curtis wrote:

        Actually, genetic sequencing seems to show that turtles are more
closely related to crocodiles than crocs are to birds.  (See "A Molecular
Phylogeny of Reptiles" by Hedges and Poling; Science v. 238, 12 February
1999.)  According to the study, birds split from the line leading to
turtles 228±10.3 MYA while turtles and crocs split just 207±20.5 MYA.
        How anapsid turtles would be clustered with diapsid crocs is
perplexing, to say the least.  But that's what's so fun about science.

Axel Meyer of the University of Konstanz in Germany reported in 1998 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Vol. 95, p. 14226) that from mitochondrial DNA, the closest living relatives of turtles are birds and crocodiles, with lizards, snakes, and mammals more distant. He suggested that the anapsid condition in turtles is secondary. -- Jeff Hecht