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Coconut Oil

Discussion in 'Debatable Topics' started by glitch4200, Oct 17, 2014.

  1. Big Ol Tortoise

    Big Ol Tortoise Well-Known Member

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    ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1477183461.415503.jpg
    This is the stuff i use on my 3 toed Mrs.Turtle I only use it once every few months or so
  2. Kelly71

    Kelly71 Active Member

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    Hi All,
    I use this stuff on Sunnys skin and head, I use the oil on this shell.
    It looks great! Thing is though I put the oil on then wipe it off right
    away! I did use the oil on his head and I think it burned it with the
    lights. He is better now and looks better then ever! I do his treatment
    I call it once a week. And keep in mind I wipe it off right away after
    putting it on. It still has a chance to soak in just not over do it. I use
    a micro fiber cloth to wipe off really gets the oil off good! Thanks download.jpg
    Big Ol Tortoise likes this.
  3. Mortis_thetortoise

    Mortis_thetortoise Active Member

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    what did you do for your dog? 17 is old! thats awesome
  4. leigti

    leigti Well-Known Member

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    I have never seen that stuff before. Interesting.
  5. leigti

    leigti Well-Known Member

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    The dog that lived to be 17 was raised on dog chow, kibble of various brands, got lots of exercise and was basically spoiled rotten :) it also helped that she was half sheltie, they have a long life spans.
    The dog I have now is 15 years old, I have raced her on a raw diet, she also got lots of exercise and is also spoiled rotten. But she has hip dysplasia sure is and also arthritis in her front legs. I am very surprised but also very pleased she has made it to 15 years old. Not bad for a 55 pound springer lab cross. I know I have been very lucky, but it does take work and money to take good care of animals.
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  6. Buddytheboxie

    Buddytheboxie Active Member

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    So I wanted to try using coco oil on my little guy since his shell is super dry no matter what I do. His tank dries out too fast and I give him daily soaks and nothing works. I just wanted to know if this brand would work before I use it on him??

    Attached Files:

  7. TammyJ

    TammyJ Well-Known Member

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    I would not recommend using any kind of oil to try to prevent or halt pyramiding. I have learned here that pyramiding is caused by SHELL GROWTH IN DRY CONDITIONS. I think the humidity in the enclosure must be made adequate and correct. And I believe that putting oil on the tortoise will prevent moisture from getting to do its job to prevent pyramiding! My opinion, just what I think I have definitely learned here.
  8. glitch4200

    glitch4200 Active Member

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    I have been quiet lately about my research with coconut oil. But with this comment. I can't stay quiet anymore. If you have read this thread. You will note a few concepts I have established in this theoretical concept of using coconut oil in indoor tortoise husbandry.

    The first concept you need to understand is something called Unfiltered infrared. What you are failing to realize.. Is that all forms of artificial basking lamps emit strong levels of harmful emissions called Unfiltered infrared.

    Infrared as a part of the electromagnetic spectrum is broken into three parts. 800nm to 2000+ nm
    1484849000223.jpg
    You can see most regular incandescent bulbs are severely high in emitted Unfiltered infra-red. Dedicated by the wavelengths between 800nm and 2000 nm.

    Infrared A. Infrared B and infrared C.
    Infrared A. Is deep core heating. It is what the sun emits most for deep core heating. Infrared B and C displaces it's thermal load on the surface of surfaces. And is much less efficient then infrared A.

    The type of heating the sun provides is water filtered. The emissions the sun emits goes through a highly dense layer of water vapor in our atmosphere. This process filters infrared with water. Thus pulling out infrared that is highly reactive to water. When this infrared hits the tortoise in the wild. The type of heating is fundamentally different then that of emissions that are not water filtered.

    All indoor habitats lack at dense water atmosphere between lamp and tortoise. No amount of added supplemental water added by humidity , soaks, and any other method of hydration can replicate the water filtration process that occurs in the natural sun on earth.

    You need to learn more about the microbiology of scute formation. You are clearly lacking this knowledge.

    The scute of any tortoise is broken into 4 layers. The base layer is called
    The basal layer. This is blood layer. Then alpha keratin is the next layer. Then the alpha keratin proliferates into beta keratin through differentiation. Beta keratin is a very sensitive to water balance.

    1484848943052.jpg

    The beta keratin (dark green layer) protects the alpha keratin (yellow layer) from environmental stress. A prime example of environmental stress is Unfiltered infrared.

    Here is what a mercury vapor bulb does to the shell at 13 inch distance..

    1484849320657.jpg

    Those red spots are super heating spots of beta keratin and alpha keratin. The more the tortoise is exposed to these types of thermal patterns the more the genetic expression of heat stressor genes embedded in the beta keratin will begin to promote abnormal a- symmetrical proliferation of the shell. Did you know what causes proliferation? Cues from the environment.. What kind of cues do you see here in that thermal image? Lots.. Overheating shell. Day in and day out. Promotes a skewed proliferation.

    Second. Coconut oil acts as a barrier to loss of hydration. Those red spots super heat the tissue. And break the bonds at a micro level. These bonds are very sensitive to loss of hydrogen. Ans hydrogen is the bonding molecules that influence protein folding and proliferation as well. Assault on this critical process creates a very unhealthy shell. Due to systematic drying of Unfiltered infrared emitted from ALL forms of basking lamps. That is why the oil helps. It offers protection from the harmful Unfiltered infrared. I have academic research showing the spectrum of coconut oil and what specific parts of the infrared spectrum it absorbs.. And the two spectrums overlap very well.

    So your idea of coconut oil preventing water equalibrium is invalid. Coconut oil decomposes in 4 days. Leaving the shell unprotected once again. Able to absorb and release water. The idea is to stop the loss of water.

    Can you use proper humidity, soaks and available water to help counteract the situation with Unfiltered infrared. Absolutely! But for many people it isn't enough because the strength of how much water is evaporated from these lamps is much much much greater then what is replaced. Guaranteed....
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  9. glitch4200

    glitch4200 Active Member

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    I also wanted to show everyone my new habitats! I updated both my habitats lighting schemes. I have been pretty inactive in the forum and ultra active in Facebook tortoise world. But I wanna change that lol

    The new habitats each consist of 3x T5 6.5k daylight bulbs, 1x T5 12% Arcadia 24 watt bulb, 3x 45 watt flood incandescents per habitat.

    1484850825296.jpg
    1484850847808.jpg

    And both tortoises are doing very well still.

    Nibbles.
    1484850895151.jpg
    1484850916245.jpg

    Napebbles
    1484850942546.jpg
    1484850983070.jpg
  10. TammyJ

    TammyJ Well-Known Member

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    Glitch4200 - thank you for your response. I am by no means an expert and I respect your scientific discourse and findings. Interesting about the dangers of the "dry" infrared.

    I have absolutely nothing against coconut oil, it is a wonderful product with many benefits. I used to fry myself in it when I was too young to know better, on the beaches here in Jamaica! Sunscreen it is NOT. Lol!!!
  11. Buddytheboxie

    Buddytheboxie Active Member

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    My box turtle is already full grown turning 24 in march. I am not using this oil as a replacement but more as a helping tool. He does have very slight pyramiding but that was way before me for I received him when he was about 14 years old. I give him daily soaks and since I have joined this forum I have changed his tank completely(for the better). The issue that I have came across is that his tank will dry out too fast. I will add water to his coco fiber to get it nice and moist and within 3 hours or so it is dry. I am using this oil as a way of holding in moisture. Anything extra to help him is the best to me. I am not looking to make him look shiny or to make him pleasing to the eye (though it is a nice bonus) I just want him to be as healthy as can be. Again I am still learning. I did read this full post before I decided to do this and I have seen the benifits to it. I will do anything to help Buddy live another 24+ years in the correct environment. He also seems more active since I put the first coat. :D
    I hope I did not come of as attacking I am just stating my opinion.
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  12. kelii

    kelii Active Member

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    I use coconut oil about once a week for my red foots. They are growing nice and smooth. I asked my vet when I took them in to get tested for parasites and she told me they recommend it if the tortoises seem dry. She said it helps with healing.
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  13. Fredkas

    Fredkas Well-Known Member

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    So... what a thread. I really can't read all of it. And the scientific terms make me really want to cry :D
    So... @glitch4200 , forgive my ignorance to this 26 pages of words worth reading. I realize that this is still the learning process. I want your latest finding of course. I read only around half of it randomly and i stopped.
    From what i was reading, coconut oil sure has anti fungus or heal properties, is this still valid?, this is the reason i wan to use it.
    I am considering heavily on applying coconut oil to my tortoise, but what i am afraid is the uvb. I have only one times a week to let my tortoise expose to sun. I dont use any artificial uvb. I really don't want anything blockage the uvb my tortoises can get, because it is so valuable for them (they get it only once a week). So the real tough question is coming:
    1. How is the relationship of coconut oil towards the blockage of uvb? How much?
    2. What is your recommendation application frequency? I am thinking of once a week max, the questions is, Apply to skin or apply only to shell?
    3. Do you think i apply it after sun bathing or before sunbathing best?
    I am looking forward for your best complete answers. Thanks a lot :tort::tort:

    Ps. Why i am thinking owning torts slowly comparable to owning a car, they need polishing :p:p
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  14. Alaskamike

    Alaskamike Well-Known Member

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    Haven't been around for awhile, but thought an update was in order with the caveat that my experience with coconut oil is antidotal & certainly not proof of anything.

    Early on when Glitch started his EVCO ( extra big in coconut oil ) experiments & research I read his posts with great interest. I also did some research on EVCO on my own & found confirmation of its properties.

    I have the advantage of living in humid hit South Florida, and also being able to raise my torts in outside pens. This area has an amazing % of sunshine to cloudy sky's as well.

    Even so, I could justify the use of coconut oil , especially during out less humid winters. I use it about once / week year round. Several things I've noted ;

    Due to high humid wet conditions, my 17 lb Sulcata , "Tiny" gets white mold growing every few months. Probably cause he built a burrow. One application of EVCO & the next day it's gone.

    He also is prone to eye infections about once every 3 months. I've treated it with ophthalmology cream, but last time I was out of that so I drizzled EVCO over his head into his eyes - in two days it was gone , usually took a week with the cream. Go figure.

    I rescued him at 2yr old & a stunted 2 & 1/2 lbs. he was noticeably pyramided having been raised w/o UV in a tupperwear tub in a kitchen. Now at 4 & 1/2 he's 17 lbs & she'll shows major improvement. Did the EVCO help? I don't know but I will continue to use it.

    image.jpeg
    I also have a leopard & an Aldabra. They too get the EVCO abt once a week. I see no downside , though their shells are great & have been The Aldabra also is 17 lbs but younger than Tiny. She is 3 & 1/2 yo. Looks like a bowling ball. Lol.
    image.jpeg image.jpeg
  15. Teodora'sDAD

    Teodora'sDAD Active Member 5 Year Member

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    I just had to throw my two cents in on this subject. I came on here a few months ago showing pictures of the growth lines between my tortoises scutes. They were dry looking and the growth looked like it was cracking instead of growing like it has in the past. You guys told me right away to use the coconut oil and I couldnt be more happy with the results. I havnt had to use it much at all and I have the same small container from when I first purchased it. When the warmer months rolled in I took it out and it was completely liquid. I used my fingers and rubbed it on and I have to say that I feel like it moisturized more than the other times i used it. Wonder if the liquid got into the tiny cracks better? Five stars from me *****
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  16. glitch4200

    glitch4200 Active Member

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    Hi Everyone. :)

    It sure has been awhile... I have a lot to say... I have learned so much about the effects of coconut oil on my tortoises over the past while. I promised you all that if i noticed anything harmful from its use, or cautionary that needed to be stated that I would do so happily. I have dug up a lot of grounded science on coconut oil and the microbiology of tortoise shells. Then i tried very hard to accurately synthesize and combine the literature on the two. I theorized that coconut oil could do a great deal of good, when a tortoise is housed indoors/outdoors under the right conditions that would warrant its use. Conditions like: using any style of artificial lighting (ie basking lamps, cermic emitters etc), dry habitats, lack of humidity, access to clean drinking water etc.

    • It should be widely known now that artificial lighting is not like the natural sun's lighting. The suns emissions across the spectrum is water filtered; specifically in the infrared ranges. Artificial lighting (basking bulbs) are not water filtered at all. The sun has a water vapor atmosphere that filtered the incoming emissions like infrared A,B, and C. The artificial lighting does not have a water atmosphere to pass thru and these emissions do NOT lose their water evaporation ability, like the suns emissions do. This poses a problem in reptile care indoors or in any application that uses artificial lighting.

    • Coconut oil has infrared spectrum blocking capabilities, in 3 of the infrared ranges that specifically target water; which in turn causes a decrease in abnormal surface evaporation of water from the microbiology of the tortoise due to artificial lighting.

    • Coconut oil has antimicrobial properties due to high Lauric acid concentrations in the 40% range, which disturbs bacterial cell walls and fungal structures (topically or orally converted).

    • Coconut oil has the ability to influence environmental growth due to pH fluctutations of the microbiology of the tortoises shell and skin during 3 sets of growth phases. This influence can be both positive and NEGATIVE.<------ Very important, new information<------- This influence depends on the growth stage your tortoise is in.
    • I have synthesized that tortoises have microbiological keratin growth stages, and depending on the keratin growth stage your tortoise is in, will determine the effect coconut oil will have on the shell.

    • 3 Phases of growth in the form of alpha/beta keratin ratio's: Baby (high alpha keratin/low beta keratin) Juvenile (medium alpha keratin/medium beta keratin), Adult (low alpha keratin/medium or high beta keratin)

    The Negative..

    How did i come up with the keratin ratios? well... from reading a lot about alpha/beta keratin and their chemistry; which was very hard to grasp.
    Then i applied it to what i was observing with Nibbles my male Russian tort.. When i started coconut oiling my tortoise.. i was using the oil up to 4x a week.. and i maintained this for well over a year... Unknowingly .. I was putting WAY TO MUCH ON and was negatively affecting the keratin growth in a way that i understand now, but did not back then.

    Nibbles i suspect is an adult.. A true adult tort, grows VERY slow. Growth is depicted as alpha keratin to beta keratin proliferation. As a baby grows into an adult, the shell and skin and organs expands. This is growth.. And this expansion can only occur because of a high ratio of alpha keratin proliferation.. This is why babies remain flexible, and pliable shell and skin wise.. Because they need to remain pliable as they expand for bone and organ growth and only alpha keratin could retain such flexibility. As they get older, that sensitive Alpha keratin framework needs to be protected from water loss and environmental dangers, this is why their is beta keratin. Beta keratin is the protector of the tortoise. Beta keratin shields tort from water loss. (They do not have microscopic pores, they do not sweat) It gives a protecting structure to bone and organs. It is essential for their survival.

    However, as an adult. The alpha keratin and beta keratin of the shell proliferates very slowly (low alpha/low to medium beta). As a baby alpha keratin has to proliferate faster then beta keratin for it to expand smoothly. As a juvenile, they need slightly more alpha then beta, to continue growing smooth. Then as an adult they slow, almost stop proliferating unless it is environmentally induced (think artificial lighting). This is backed up by research in the field of experimental dermatology. Microbiologists looked at the samples of tortoise shell at different ages, and concluded by explaining that their are alpha/beta keratin ratios depicting phases of growth, depicted by proliferation ratios.

    Now.. back to the part where i said coconut oil influences microbiological pH in the tortoise shell and skin during proliferation. I was applying up to 4x a week for well over a year. This was catastrophic for these alpha/keratin ratios in the Adult growth phase... Why? Well.. coconut oil is acidic. Lauric acid decomposes into lactic acid. Which is a Keratolytic. This means we have an pH change that is lowering the environment needed to grow beta keratin, as beta keratin is neutral/basic for proper growth. So beta keratin growth is inhibited with too low a pH on the shell. What i did NOT account for... was that alpha keratin will STOP growing and DEGRADE if pH becomes to low. Unfortunately... that is what has occurred with Nibbles... The alpha keratin degraded pretty bad due to over application early on in the research + NOT CLEANING THE OLD DECOMPOSED OIL OFF WITH A SCRUB BRUSH.
    Remember in adult growth phases their is low alpha keratin/low beta keratin proliferation.. So lowering the pH to low, not only stopped new growth of alpha keratin.. but it destroyed previous growth by denurturing the proteins further. And no alpha keratin = no beta keratin since alpha is precursor to beta. This is a big problem for someone who is over applying and not cleaning the old decomposed acids off (obviously not anymore). And i observed this with Nibbles. The scute ridges have degraded some, so i stopped using the oil with him. I did so about 4 months ago, to see if i observe new growth when the pH changes back to normal... and i have observed new growth again... but a year and half of up to 4x a week w/o washing the old oil off, had negative observable degrading. It upsets me. But then i remember the oil has helped A LOT with Napebbles my female russian tort.


    Side two...

    Napebbles... is a different story.. She has seen EXTREME smooth growth. I got her as a baby/juvenile. So applying coconut oil to a baby/juvenile means that alpha keratin proliferation is high. Lowering the pH in the keratin environments during a baby/juvenile growth phases would be the MOST IDEAL. because the proliferation can sustain new keratin formation at a rate that would not expose the older alpha keratin to protein denurturing from decomposing acids. This is why napebbles is so smooth and grew so smooth so fast. Her shell enviornment was prime for alpha keratin proliferation based on her growth phase, and the coconut oil put that phase into overdrive, which promotes flexible pliable growth which is smooth and unrestricted by beta keratin. As you can see from earlier posts of them, you see the light yellow expands very wide and symmetrical around the entire shell. This is alpha keratin proliferation... The darker part of the shell is the established beta keratin formation. Once alpha keratin is made, beta keratin can begin to proliferate depending on genetic expressional cues.

    This is where problem two occurs. If you promote alpha keratin production like i did with her, and she expands very fast, the beta keratin that needs to proliferate to cover this new alpha keratin is influenced by the environmental cues the shell is exposed to from the beta keratins "core box". This "core box" is the genetic expression enabled in the beta keratin frameworks that is formed across the shell which responds to environmental cues to engage alpha/beta proliferation cues for the tortoise. Example: tortoise is exposed to extreme temps for years in their native region. A tortoise will take that "extreme temp" as a environmental cue, this cue, triggers the "core box" in the beta keratin to express genetic proliferation cues to the keratin frameworks on the shell. So tort makes more beta keratin to slow down water loss due to extreme heat temps. More beta keratin = less water loss. All this information is in the form of an environmental cue taken in by the tortoises "core box" in the form of trigger genes. (heat stressor genes).

    So what does that mean? well.. i stopped using the coconut oil on napebbles for about 4 months as well.. and all that exposed alpha keratin, is being genetically cued by the artificial lighting to proliferate beta keratin in order to protect the alpha keratin from the unfiltered water evaporating emissions of artificial lighting. So i have observed some abnormal folded beta keratin bands across the shell, situated just above the new(now old) alpha keratin.

    To take this a step further.. The abnormal beta keratin bands, i feel are highly correlated with thermal imaging patterns i have taken from these lamps. Each lamp has a specific thermal pattern due to the emissions present in the lamp. The lamp heats up a tortoise in a certain way. Hot spots are a huge problem.. And hot spots created on the shell (SEE THERMAL IMAGING I HAVE DONE) i feel correlate PERFECTLY with these abnormal bands of beta keratin proliferation now present in napebbles.

    This makes sense when you combine the understanding of beta keratin proliferation expression in the core box, which is guided by genetic expression due to "cues" given by the environment the tort is exposed to. So these lamps are making new alpha keratin, abnormally proliferate beta keratin due to heat stress in the core box. As alpha keratin is precursor to beta keratin. This is why when i stopped the coconut oil with her 4 months ago, which was inhibiting the beta keratin proliferation, i am seeing massive beta keratin proliferation now... And it is starting to bow the scutes and create a slight type two pyramiding.

    I will provide pictures soon later with exactly what i mean. It is not as bad as i make it out to be. But this is very important stuff if we are to continue using it in tortoise husbandry.

    The take away:

    • Use coconut oil NO MORE then 2x time a week. Preferably 1x a week, if anything.
    • Always scrub at the end of the week, excess decomposed oil off.
    • Use only cold pressed, unrefined coconut oil


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  17. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Supporter

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    Wow. Thank you so much for this. I love it when our members share their experiments' results with us - the good and the bad. Good job!
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  18. SteveW

    SteveW Well-Known Member

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    Wow. When you post, you really post! I've not been around for a bit, and in full disclosure, I have not made my way through your back pages. However, I do have some questions regarding your most recent update though. Most pressingly, I don't follow how your observations lead to your conclusions. I understand (I think) your explanation of alpha and beta keratin and the negative effects you have observed, but it seems like the conclusion should be not to use coconut oil. I don't see where you are getting your recommendations regarding frequency of application, type of oil, etc. from the data. Is this an assumption to mitigate the damage you observed via a lower dose?
    If the artificial lighting presents the hazard as described, perhaps the answer is a compound that is non-acidic, both in whole and it's metabolites?

    I could be missing something, but it feels like there's a gap in the whole 'hypothesis-conclusion' process. Regardless, thanks for sharing all your work. I appreciate all the detail.
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  19. Alaskamike

    Alaskamike Well-Known Member

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    @glitch4200
    Great info. It is rare that we can follow experimental care long enough to see real results. I had to read your post carefully - twice - to fully understand it.

    This thread has been an interesting education for me in shell development. The new/old growth alpha/beta keratin relationship is a complex interaction of environmental cues & impacts mixed with genetics. As with most biology , it's not as simple as one factor.

    The impact of artificial UV & heat lamps on the torts has often been hotly debated. But you detailed explanations of hot spots , UV filtration , has added much to my understanding.

    Science works with justified belief , is predictive , and we are willing to change our minds with new valid information. It is evidential. Honest.

    Thank you for your contribution.
    Ever learning- ever trying to understand and improve.
  20. Markw84

    Markw84 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Thanks so much for your thoughtful and elaborate post. Lots of info there, but some I cannot follow. I hope you can provide some backup info here. Like you, I have done a lot of research in some of this area you have touched on. Perhaps you can give me some links to research papers from which you drew some of the statements and conclusions:

    The Atmospheric absorption bands, and in particular for H20 occur with IR-A. Natural sunlight does not have IR-B or IR-C in it. There is virtually no wavelengths above 2400nm (2.4µm) in sunlight. The absorption bands for H2O are therefore in the 900nm, 1150nm, 1300-1400nm, and 1800-1950nm ranges. An absorption band is simply a wavelength that is absorbed (the electron is captured and reemitted at a lower frequency). It does not mean it is a wavelength that dries water. It simply is a result of the vibrational frequency of the H2O vapor molecule. Do you have some supportive information that shows these are desiccating frequency? I am very interested in this. But I think many may be mislead by them label "water absorption frequencies" All elements have an absorption frequency. It does not necessarily mean that frequency dries, or heats that type element. It simply "matches" an open electron frequency.

    Artificial light that we use that emits heat (MVB, Incadescent, Halide) all emit IR-A as well as a substantial amount of IR-B. Fluorescents and LED's do not emit any substantial amount of any IR at all. So I assume you are referring to the heat generating bulbs. Do you have data showing that the longer IR-B is more or less desiccating? That would be interesting. IR-B is "deeper heating" but supposedly less desiccating.

    All my research and studies have shown reptiles and birds have ß-keratin that makes up scales and skin. In fact phylogenic studies have show it is that type of ß-keratin that matches the feathers, scales, and beaks of birds, showing birds came from the crocodile/chelonian ancestry. I have never heard of α-keratin turning into ß-keratin in chelonians. I have certainly heard of the 3 phases of keratin hair growth in mammals. Not in reptile ß-keratin. The previously termed "core box" is what I see more commonly now referred to as simply the central part of the ß-keratin. My understanding was that in reptiles and birds, unlike mammals, there is simply the beta-folded region of amino acids. This leads to the formation of ß-keratin directly. This is all very intriguing. Can you refer me to something that shows chelonian keratin goes through a 3 stage growth process?

    I am also vastly interested in epigenetics. My sister is one of the leading experts in the world on epigenetics, with dozens o publications and speaking all over the world to medical societies and research facilities. Do you know any specifics of the "environmental cue" that would trigger the ß-keratin growth. Environmental gene triggers is her specific area of research and grants. I would love to run some of that info by her.

    Thank you again for taking your time to lay this out and share. This is one of the things I love about this forum!!
    TortyDxb and Tom like this.
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