A turtle has a skeleton different from any other vertebrate. In other vertebrate animals, the shoulder blade is located outside the rib cage like it is in man, the big cats, elephants, goat and monkeys. The turtle’s shoulder blade is inside the rib cage, and the ribs are part of the shell as seen by embryologists when they compared the muscles and bone development of the Chinese soft-shelled turtle, chicken and mouse.
This means that a turtle’s shell is more than an outer covering. It is an integral part of the animal’s body. As the turtle develops inside the egg its shoulder blade iremains inside the rib cage. During the turtle’s early embryology when its skeleton is forming, the shoulder blade and the ribs become part of the shell.
So could the turtle take off its shell like the Ninja Turtles can? No way. It would kill the turtle much the same as if you tried to walk or even live without you back bones. Ouch!
Excerpts courtesy of Azdailystar.com.
Image courtesy of 4.bp.blogspot.com and NOAA/_OVH5UC-R50w//Sea+Turtle.jpg