Home » Darwinism, Genetics, News » If turtles are closer to birds than to lizards and snakes, genetically, then …

If turtles are closer to birds than to lizards and snakes, genetically, then …

From “Turtles More Closely Related to Birds Than Lizards and Snakes, Genetic Evidence Shows” (ScienceDaily, May 23, 2012), we learn,

The evolutionary origin of turtles is one of the last unanswered questions in vertebrate evolution. Paleontological and morphological studies place turtles as either evolving from the ancestor of all reptiles or as evolving from the ancestor of snakes, lizards, and tuataras. Conflictingly, genetic studies place turtles as evolving from the ancestor of crocodilians and birds.

Having recently looked at more than a thousand of the least-changed regions in the genomes of turtles and their closest relatives, a team of Boston University researchers has confirmed that turtles are most closely related to crocodilians and birds rather than to lizards, snakes, and tuataras.

The study is the first genomic-scale analysis addressing the phylogenetic position of turtles, using over 1000 loci from representatives of all major reptile lineages including tuatara (lizard-like reptiles found only in New Zealand). Earlier studies of morphological traits positioned turtles at the base of the reptile tree with lizards, snakes and tuatara (lepidosaurs), whereas molecular analyses typically allied turtles with crocodiles and birds (archosaurs).

Doesn’t this raise some questions about conventional accounts of evolution? Or do we still pretend we didn’t notice?

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9 Responses to If turtles are closer to birds than to lizards and snakes, genetically, then …

  1. Being able to map the genome wasn’t the silver bullet evolutionists were hoping for. It just muddied the water further.

  2. This just shows the conventional accounts are evolving. BTW a turtle out of its shell does look like a bird without feathers.

  3. Well, that’s as may be, but it sure isn’t what the rest of us learned at school as unshakeable truth. Maybe, right now, it wuld be better not to teach The Tree of Life. Maybe, adaptations for life, or something.

  4. Can someone explain what problems this causes for Darwinism?

  5. 5

    There is no relationship between these critters.
    its a flaw logic.
    they simply have like genetics for like reasons of body parts for like needs.
    if there is a creator with a common design it would be predicted that creatures with like details have like dna. yet unrelated to origin.
    Just like people and apes.
    Turtles are not birds and never were.

  6. JoeCoder-

    There are no problems for darwinism. Nothing to see here. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. 7
    Chance Ratcliff

    Joe, exactly.

    I think one would need to challenge “reproduction with variation” in order to cause any real problems for evolution, because what we observe *is* the explanation for what we observe.

  8. Yes, repoduction with variation, plus father time, plus water, plus a lack of oxygen and then an abundance of oxygen, explains all.

    Nothing to see here.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  9. Joecoder,

    The post isn’t exactly clear, but the implication is that the turtle’s DNA puts it in an unexpected place. Another example of the branches of the tree of life not fitting together very well.

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