When you think about the world’s greatest living reptiles, there’s a good chance that the word “turtleback” doesn’t come to mind.
They’re the smallest of the three big turtles (the rest are turtles, alligators and sea urchins), and they’re often found in the ocean and at beaches in Australia.
They have a long history of interbreeding with other species of turtles, but when they are wiped out, the rest of the world loses their largest and most powerful predator.
So how did they come to be?
In the 1970s, a group of scientists discovered the tiny, yellow-footed turtles in Queensland.
Their habitat was a sandy beach, and the scientists were surprised to find that they were thriving.
By the late 1980s, there were more than 10,000 of the turtles in the world, all living in a few dozen scattered locations in Australia and New Zealand.
The research was funded by the Australian Government, which was using it to reintroduce native turtle species to Australia.
But after the turtles disappeared, it was thought that the native turtle population would die off.
“It was a very tragic event that really shook the community and the turtle-keeping community,” says Michael Friesen, a senior scientist with the National Turtle Conservation Program.
He’s been studying the plight of the remaining turtleback population since 2005, and has spent the past two decades tracking down its genetic diversity.
This is the first time that anyone has been able to sequence the genome of one of the big-brained reptiles.
Friese says the turtleback genome is very similar to the human genome.
“The genetic differences between the two species are really tiny,” he says.
The closest we have to a living gene from an Asian giant is in the DNA of the turtle itself, and that gene is very rare in this population. “
There’s no indication of any significant gene flow between the human and the Asian giant turtle.
Turtleback genetics are unique to the group of reptiles that live in the deep sea. “
This is a really important finding because we’re not sure if they’re still going to be here when the population dies out.”
Turtleback genetics are unique to the group of reptiles that live in the deep sea.
Scientists have not been able see the genes in the sea turtle genome, but they do know that there are at least two genes in common with humans and the sea turtles.
One of them, called SCO, has been found in a number of other animals.
It is expressed in the brain, and its gene is similar to that of the human gene that makes us look human.
The other gene, called MRCA1, has a similar function in the nervous system to the one that makes some other animals look like people.
“We’re hoping to find a gene in the turtle genome that might be able to help explain the divergence between the Asian and the American giant turtles,” says Frieses.
The researchers also hope to find out how the Asian giants survived and adapted to a harsh environment in the wild.
In the wild, they say, there are only two types of turtles: large turtles that live up to three metres and the smaller ones that are about one metre long.
“In the wild there are a lot of small turtles, so it would be really cool if we could see their genomes and see what genetic differences are present in them,” says Dr Fries.
“One thing that’s really exciting about the research is that it really shows that there is a lot more genetic diversity in the Asian turtles than in the giant turtles.”
The turtlebacks are found in several species of oceanic species, including sharks, rays, rays-eye fish, octopus, crabs and fish.
They’ve also been found on land in New Zealand and Tasmania, and in the waters off the coast of New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia.
So what is their relationship to us?
The turtles are the smallest member of the giant turtle family.
They live in warm waters, and live in very deep water.
They can reach a depth of around 1.5 metres, and are usually found in tropical or subtropical areas.
There are many species of giant turtles in Australia, including the giant, brown-bellied and white-backed turtles.
In fact, in Queensland, they are the only giant turtle species that have survived into adulthood.
But the world population is declining rapidly, with the last big-headed turtle, a white-headed giant turtle, dying off at the end of the last century.
The last giant turtle population in Australia was in the 1990s, and many of its populations have now disappeared.
Dr Fuesen says the research has given scientists an idea of what the population will look like in 2040, when the world turtle population is estimated to be only about 1,500.
“If you look at the last population of these giant turtles, it’s about three metres in length,” he said.
“That’s what we’d estimate that it would look like at the time of extinction