image provided by: Jeff Dawson

    Bones make up the majority of the skeletal system in turtles as opposed to amphibians who have a large amount of cartilage in their system. Connective tissue in the turtles is mineralized and becomes bone and the interior of their bones consists of sponge like marrow. In some cases the marrow inside the bones produces both red and white blood cells (Dawson 2000).
    The turtle skeleton is divided into two main sections, the endoskeleton and the ectoskeleton. The endoskeleton consists of all the internal bones and the ectoskeleton of a turtle is its shell. The endoskeleton is further divided into  2 subsections called the axial skeleton and the appendicular skeleton. The axial skeleton is made up of the skull and both the cervical and thoracic vertebrae. The appendicular skeleton on the other hand consists the remaining bones in the skeleton (Poland 2000).


ENDOSKELETON         Skull - protects the brain (actually composed of several bones fused together)
        Cervical Vertebrae - neck bones (turtles typically have 8)
        Thoracic Vertebrae - fused to the carapace plates (ribs branch off from here and there are usually 10)         Limb bones:
        Humerous        Tibia
        Radius              Tarsals
        Ulna                  Metatarsals
        Carpals             Phalanges
        Femur               Fibula

        Scapula            Coracoid

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