Anatomical and hematological studies of four genera of turtles (Chelonia)
Biggs, Norman Lee
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It is a generally accepted fact that, from the standpoint of evolution, the turtles are representatives of very primitive amniotes. Paleontological evidence indicates the turtles, as an order, have undergone little change from their primitive ancestors. Thus, it is logical to assume that turtles may give one information regarding the conditions which existed in the early stages of reptilian evolution. The vast majority of studies on turtles have been concerned with taxonomic and ecological problems. Little attention has been directed to studies on internal anatomy. The author feels that the latter phases have been woefully neglected. Thus, an attempt was made to investigate certain anatomical and hematological characteristics of turtles. Four different genera are fairly common in Northern Illinois: Chelydra, Chrysermya, Rays, and Terrapene. Obviously a complete anatomical and hematological examination of each genera could not be undertaken. Of prime interest were the red and white blood cell counts, the blood sugar, organ weight-body weight ratios and length of the digestive tract.