How the Turtle Got Its Shell

  • Published on: 12 March 2018
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    Where did turtles come from? And how did the they get their shells? The answers to these questions would eventually cause scientists to rethink the entire history of reptile evolution.

    Thanks as always to Nobumichi Tamura for allowing us to use his wonderful paleoart : Additionally, a big thank you to Tyler Lyson, Luke Norton, Andrey Atuchin, and Gaberiel Bever for their images of Eunotosaurus.

    Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios:

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  • Runtime : 9:12
  • dinosaurs dinos paleo paleontology scishow eons pbs pbs digital studios hank green john green complexly fossils natural history turtle shell plastron carapace Proganochelys Triassic Period clade eureptilia parareptilia pareiasaurs Bradysaurus Anthodon developmental biologists Eunotosaurus Odontochelys burrowing ribs scutes turtles all the way down reptiles


  • PBS Eons
    PBS Eons   1 years ago

    We have a correction! At 4:27, we say that, aside from Odontochelys, no known turtles had teeth. That was incorrect, because some other extinct turtles did have teeth in their palates. What we should have said was that Odontochelys was the first known turtle with teeth. We also wanted to clarify that the bony plates found in pareiasaurs are called osteoderms rather than scutes. The term "scutes" refers to the keratinous layer that covers the osteoderms. Thanks to the viewer who pointed this out!

  • Eric Cox
    Eric Cox   1 weeks ago

    WRONG! Turtles need their shells to hold up the universe. DUH!

  • Reverse Universe
    Reverse Universe   1 weeks ago

    I have recently found amazingly preserved sea creatures stone fossils including a baby croc, frog among others and one big rock fossil resembles a turtle shell!Any palaeontologists out there I can sent my images to?

  • Jorge Ro
    Jorge Ro   1 weeks ago

    Save the turtles sksksksksksksk

  • Jonathan Pinkerton
    Jonathan Pinkerton   1 weeks ago

    So, how did turtles’ shoulder blades get inside their rib cages?

  • PaccoLazyGuy
    PaccoLazyGuy   1 weeks ago

    Softshell turtle: Hold my shel-wait...... I have no shell.

  • Atomic Pressure
    Atomic Pressure   2 weeks ago

    But you need CGI to go along with the stuff you're saying because it's hard to imagine all the stuff you're talking about

  • Phayes
    Phayes   2 weeks ago

    Sturgill Simpson reference!!

  • titan 101
    titan 101   2 weeks ago

    If you watched pokemon you would know how it evolved

  • Aaron Gatti
    Aaron Gatti   2 weeks ago

    I was distracted bt the beautiful narrarator didnt realise were talkin about turtles, had to watch it twice

  • Brandi LeBas
    Brandi LeBas   2 weeks ago

    I like turtles 😮🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢

  • LolzHammer
    LolzHammer   3 weeks ago

    Video ceases play at 0:12 and won't recover, even after multiple refresh attempts.

  • Ray S
    Ray S   3 weeks ago

    Those ancestors look a little like crestless triceratops

  • Jake Odell
    Jake Odell   4 weeks ago

    For early turtle relatives what about eorhynchochelys. It lived 230 mya in china.

  • Jo Lee
    Jo Lee   4 weeks ago

    Why can we not use the genome to identify its clade? How does genetics contribute to taxonomy and what are its limtations?

  • Flux it
    Flux it   1 months ago

    birds are reptiles?

  • Pernilla Nilsson
    Pernilla Nilsson   1 months ago

    Now we know how Turtles evolved! But how did The Tortoise evolve?

  • Joe Curran
    Joe Curran   1 months ago

    This was a fantastic video but how did Turtles go from burrowing to spending (some) time in the sea?

  • Geert Wilders
    Geert Wilders   1 months ago

    I think it looks cute. Where can i buy one of those pareiasaurs?

  • Daniel McDavid
    Daniel McDavid   1 months ago

    At 8:00 you mention the clade including birds and crocodilians. (Archosaurs) yet, in your diagram you exclude Ornithischian dinosaurs. Why is that? All dinosaurs are archosaurs, and the split between crocodilians and dinosaurs happened millions of years before the split between Ornithischian dinosaurs and Theropod dinosaurs (including birds)

  • butts mcgee
    butts mcgee   1 months ago

    I’m about 99% sure birds aren’t in the eureptilia class

  • butts mcgee
    butts mcgee   1 months ago

    Wait when did birds become reptiles?

  • ilovedogs 2
    ilovedogs 2   1 months ago

    What about anklyosuarus? Or is that closer related to tortissues.

  • Ravi Sanghvi
    Ravi Sanghvi   1 months ago

    Oh boy! My laptop is 220 million years old. Unfortunately, it does not adapt itself to changes around.

  • buzcankillyou 2
    buzcankillyou 2   1 months ago

    That thumbnail turtle looks like something that a devil would make.

  • The Dude
    The Dude   1 months ago

    Oh trust me,turtles are only slow when they want to be

  • Boy Gilo
    Boy Gilo   1 months ago

    Why turtles have shell? because then it would look cute

  • Bill Fletcher
    Bill Fletcher   1 months ago

    I would like to see one on the recurrent life of the temporary ponds of the plains. Arthopods like Mole Crickets, Fairy Shrimp and Crayfish in particular.

  • My Anime
    My Anime   1 months ago

    Cross breeding create something new.. Just like human when mating with diff gene

  • Artemis
    Artemis   1 months ago

    Idk how I got here but I’m not complaining