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the possible choices for the original turtle span almost the entire range of reptiles, living and extinct.’ The origin of turtles has long been, and continues to be, a major evolutionary enigma. Since turtles appear abruptly in the fossil record, the current data are consistent with a creation event followed by considerable diversification coupled with degeneration.

We wish to thank Eric Blievernicht, Jody Allen and Clifford Lillo for their helpful comments.

This modeling, although useful, cannot replace the need for paleontological evidence.

had midpalatal homodont ‘teeth’ which were actually small denticles formed by the development of a tough covering over some of the bones of the palate (which modern turtles lack), yet was otherwise similar to modern turtles.

This phylogenetic problem has remained unsolved partly because turtles have such a unique morphology that only few characters can be used to link them with any other group of amniotes.’ Because of the lack of fossil intermediates, evolutionists have to resort to speculative hypotheses to rescue to fit turtles into evolution.

One hypothesis is that the turtle carapace gradually evolved from ‘elements of the primitive reptilian integument.’ have proposed a theoretical embryological model involving movement of the ribs into the dermal layer leading to the evolution of a turtle shell.

The evolution of teeth is the problem evolutionists have to deal with and, conversely, the loss of teeth would be expected in the biblical model of the Fall which predicts corruption of the genome and the accompanying deterioration of the phenotype.

A mutation could easily have occurred in one of the ‘tooth’ development genes in turtles that disabled tooth maturation but still allowed the animal to survive.

One theory is that sea turtles evolved from land turtles, requiring significant evolutionary changes to adapt to the sea.

For example, sea turtles filter salt from sea water by producing large salty tears.

Accepting these hypotheses implies that turtles cannot be viewed any longer as primitive reptiles, and that they might have lost the temporal holes in the skull secondarily rather than never having had them.’ In summary, the molecular research has, so far, provided evidence to support the conclusion that ‘the molecular data conflict with paleontological data …

and it will be a challenge not only to paleontologists …

Their wide genetic variation allows the creation of variety both through careful breeding and by various natural mechanisms.

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