The turtle’s shell is one of the most striking and unique features found in organismal biology, and questions and debates on its origin have intrigued scientists for more than two centuries, with as much resolution found now as in the 1800s.
The turtle shell is thus an impeccable problem for students to investigate, requiring a mix of evolutionary biology, developmental biology, palaeontology, genomics, ecology, and any of their possible possible permutations and combinations. The resources listed here provide the background knowledge your students need to take into account, and thus are essential for their first steps into this fascinating subject.
Zip of all papers downloadable at this link. I’ve also made every individual paper also available, just click on the [PDF] links. The order in which I have them is a rough guide to how I teach this.
Importance of Palaeontology:
- Urdy S, Wilson LAB, Haug JT, Sánchez-Villagra. 2013. On the Unique Perspective of Paleontology in the Study of Developmental Evolution and Biases. Biological Theory 8, 293-311. [PDF]
Evo-Devo and Origin of Biological Innovations:
- Müller GB & Newman SA. 2005. The innovation triad: an EvoDevo agenda. Journal of Experimental Zoology B 304, 487-503. [PDF]
- Müller GB. 2007. Evo–devo: extending the evolutionary synthesis. Nature Reviews Genetics 8, 943-949. [PDF]
- Robert JS. 2002. How developmental is evolutionary developmental biology? Biology & Philosophy 17, 591-611. [PDF]
- McNamara KJ & McKinney ML. 2005. Heterochrony, disparity, and macroevolution. Paleobiology 31 Suppl., 17-26. [PDF]
- Hall BK & Kerney R. 2012. Levels of Biological Organization and the Origin of Novelty. Journal of Experimental Zoology B 318, 428-437. [PDF]
- Shubin NH & Marshall CR. 2000. Fossils, genes, and the origin of novelty. Paleobiology 26, 324-340. [PDF]
- MacCord K, Caniglia G, Moustakas-Verho JE & Burke AC. 2015. The dawn of chelonian research: Turtles between comparative anatomy and embryology in the 19th century. Journal of Experimental Zoology B 324B, 169-180. [PDF]
- Houssaye A. 2013. Bone histology of aquatic reptiles: what does it tell us about secondary adaptation to an aquatic life? Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 108, 3-21. [PDF]