How the Turtle Got Its Shell

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Does a shell define a turtle, or are there turtles without shells? Learn about the evolution of the unique reptile and the mystery that surrounds this identifiable feature as part of a larger series of videos. As various disciplines approach the same question, the entire understanding of reptile evolution shifts.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Read the book How the Turtle Got Its Shell
  • Share this correction from the authors: "At 4:27, we say that, aside from Odontochelys, no known turtles had teeth. That was incorrect, because some other extinct turtles did have teeth in their palates. What we should have said was that Odontochelys was the first known turtle with teeth."
Classroom Considerations

  • Content ends at 8:25, and the remaining time is an advertisement

  • Provides a long list of references
  • Interesting mystery helps keep viewers' attention
  • Offers subtitles for help with note taking

  • None