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Scientists Discover That Fly River Turtles Can Talk

Cowboy_Ken

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Scientists Discover That Fly River Turtles Can Talk
ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1500857214.015459.jpg
Katherine Ripley, 7/12/17, http://www.azula.com

What sound does a turtle make? At first, you might be stumped by that question. Do turtles make any sound at all? In fact, they do. And scientists recently discovered https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170626142333.htm that a type of freshwater turtle, the pig-nosed turtle, not only vocalizes, but also engages in complex social interactions with other turtles.

Twenty years ago, it was widely believed that turtles were deaf and dumb http://www.newsweek.com/turtles-talk-each-other-parents-call-out-offspring-265613 . But thanks to the work of researchers like Richard Vogt, who spent most of his career studying giant South American river turtles, the prevailing scientific view changed. Scientists came to understand that all species of turtles could make noise and hear noises.

Vogt and his colleagues found that giant South American river turtles could “talk” to hatchlings, helping them migrate to the right place. This was the first evidence that any species of turtle provided any kind of post-hatchling care.

Amazingly, Vogt and his team found that baby leatherback sea turtles and olive ridley sea turtles can also communicate while they are still inside their eggs. This may be why all the baby turtles in a nest hatch at the same time.

The pig-nosed turtle, also known as the fly river turtle, is the latest species of turtle that scientists have observed communicating socially.

Researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society recorded pig-nosed turtles both in the wild and in captivity exchanging calls while feeding, nesting and resting in the sun. They also recorded the turtles http://www.bioone.org/doi/10.1643/CE-16-407

The pig-nosed turtle — which is native to Australia, Indonesia, and New Guinea — is classified as vulnerable. Many species of turtles are endangered. Knowing that these animals vocalize and communicate with each other has a major impact on the way conservationists work to save the species.

For example, some conservation strategies involve keeping hatchlings in captivity for up to a month before releasing them into the wild. But this approach may deprive the hatchlings of the opportunity to communicate with their mother.

After Vogt published his research on communication between giant South American river turtle mothers and babies, the WCS changed its approach to turtle conservation. They now release hatchlings into the wild immediately.
 

cdmay

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Very cool stuff Ken!
Years ago the late Ray Ashton presented a paper at the All Florida Herp Conference where he indicated that gopher tortoises could communicate subsonically from their underground burrows.
 

KevinGG

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Would be interesting if this has anything to do with the adult turtles being non-carnivorous. Guessing the giant S. American species was Podocnemis Expansa which eats only plant matter as adults. Communication with young only works if they don't become a food source for the adults.
 

KevinGG

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Would be interesting if this has anything to do with the adult turtles being non-carnivorous. Pig nose are vegan. Guessing the giant S. American species was Podocnemis Expansa which eats only plant matter as adults. The Sea turtles feed almost exclusively on plant matter. Communication with young only works if they don't become a food source for the adults.
 

Tom

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Would be interesting if this has anything to do with the adult turtles being non-carnivorous. Pig nose are vegan. Guessing the giant S. American species was Podocnemis Expansa which eats only plant matter as adults. The Sea turtles feed almost exclusively on plant matter. Communication with young only works if they don't become a food source for the adults.
Everything I've read on Fly River turtles, and the people I know that have them, all say they are opportunistic omnivores. I don't know any keepers that feed them a vegan diet. Same for most of the sea turtles. They eat jellys (which is how they get impacted with the plastic bags…) tunicates, crustaceans, mollusks and fish, as opportunities present themselves.

I submit the American Alligator as an example of a carnivorous reptile offering post-hatching care and verbal communication with its offspring.


Neat article @Cowboy_Ken . Thanks for posting.
 

KevinGG

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Everything I've read on Fly River turtles, and the people I know that have them, all say they are opportunistic omnivores. I don't know any keepers that feed them a vegan diet. Same for most of the sea turtles. They eat jellys (which is how they get impacted with the plastic bags…) tunicates, crustaceans, mollusks and fish, as opportunities present themselves.

I submit the American Alligator as an example of a carnivorous reptile offering post-hatching care and verbal communication with its offspring.


Neat article @Cowboy_Ken . Thanks for posting.
Damn you, Tom!!!!!! Allow me to spread my vegan ideology for once!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fine. They are some of the least carnivorous species. Interesting that these turtle species are the ones displaying this behavior (that we know of). Don't ruin this for me with some smooth talking, evidence based essay. Just think, how cool would it be if I was right?

Would be interesting to see the differences in the brain of these species versus something like the Blandings that would surely chow down on a baby. Going to read up on American Alligators. This stuff is fascinating. Upends everything we think reptiles are supposed to be.
 
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