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Study shows 'dinosaurs of the turtle world' at risk in Southeast rivers
Date:4/10/2014

up in the fossil record until the early Miocene, but snapping turtles as a group go back to the late Cretaceous."

With their spiked shells and scaled bodies, the prehistoric-looking reptiles can live up to nearly 100 years, but it is their amazing size that has drawn peoples' attention for centuries, Thomas said. As large, apex predators, alligator snappers play an important role in the wild. A river ecosystem deprived of its alligator snappers would most likely experience negative implications, Thomas said.

The study's value to conservation biology and other taxonomic studies is invaluable, said John Iverson, a biologist with Earlham College not associated with this research.

"We can finally begin to manage these three genetic units separately and appropriately," Iverson said. "The incredibly detailed work of these researchers in bringing together the genetic, morphological, ecological, zoogeographic and paleontological data to clarify the relationships among the three alligator snapping turtle species should be emulated by other systematists and conservation biologists."


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Contact: Kenneth Krysko
kenneyk@flmnh.ufl.edu
352-273-1945
University of Florida
Source:Eurekalert

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