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Researchers at Boston University’s College of Arts & Sciences have uncovered the story of the turtle’s evolutionary origins.
The team compared the genome of turtles to that of different species to solve one of the last unanswered questions in vertebrate evolution: whether the turtle is a closer relative to crocodiles and birds than it is to lizards and snakes.
Their research, published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, shows turtles to be closer relatives to the former, contradicting previous anatomical and paleontological studies. CAS Researcher Nick Crawford, lead author of the research, used computational analysis to examine regions of the different animals’ genomes.