The measured sizes of turtles varies from a few centimetres (forest/jungle species) to up to two meters (the leatherback and the galapagos tortoises). All turtles have a protective shell around their bodies. The top part of their case is called the carapace, the underside is the plastron, and the two are connected by the bridge. Turtles generally live a long time; some individuals are known to have lived longer than 150 years. The first turtles already existed in the era of the dinosaurs, some 200 million years ago. Turtles are the only surviving branch of the even more ancient clade Anapsida, which includes groups such as the procolophonoids, millerettids and pareiasaurs. All anapsid skulls lack a temporal opening. All other extant amniotes have temporal openings (although in mammals the hole has become the zygoid arch). Most of the anapsids became extinct in the late Permian period, with the exception of the procolophonoids and the precursors of the testudines (turtles).














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Images 1 Through 12 Come From The US Fish & Wildlife Service
Images 13 Through 19 Come From The N.O.A.A.
Images 20 Through 22 Come From The N.R.C.S.





















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