of the sea turtle skeleton
The diagram below shows a side or lateral view of a generalised
sea turtle. To find out more about each of the parts, click on appropriate
bone or label.
group of reptiles is unusual because its skeleton forms a protective
box around its soft body tissues. The exoskeleton (outer layer)
consists of a shell covered with a horny layer or turtle shell.
The endoskeleton (inner skeleton) is bony and the ribs, backbone,
pectoral girdle (shoulder blade) and pelvic (hip) girdle are fused
to the inner layer of the exoskeleton. The overall body is shortened
and broadened when compared to other reptiles.
sea turtles, the front limbs are specially adapted for swimming
and are paddle like. The hind limbs also show some adaptation for
swimming but are mainly used for steering. Unlike their close relative,
the tortoise, a sea turtle cannot withdraw its head into its shell.
layout of the skeleton:
on a diagram from the FAO Species Catalogue - Vol.11 Sea Turtles
of the World - Kind Permission of the FAO)