Today's NYT Science Times section has a great article on turtles. It's too long and too juicy to excerpt, so I will just summarize some highlights, in no particular order:
o Everyone loves turtles, because they're clumsy and harmless and slow. I would also add non-allergenic and often rather cute.
o For all intents and purposes, turtles do not age. Their organs do not deteriorate at all as they get older. (On the other hand, it takes some sea turtles 40-50 years to finish puberty, which might explain why they abandon their eggs.)
o Turtles can stop their hearts at will.
o Turtles are incredibly strong, otherwise they wouldn't be able to move at all, due to the awkward angle their shells force their legs into.
o Forest turtles can spot bodies of water from a mile away, and some turtles may communicate through ground-transmitted subsonics.
o The turtle shell is part of their skeleton, comprised mostly of modified ribs and vertebrae.
o There are turtles on every continent, and in most habitats, except Antarctica.
o There are turtles that eat jellyfish, ice cream, and human corpses (not the same turtle).
o Other than disease, Man is pretty much the only threat to an adult turtle, primarily through habitat destruction and running over with cars.
o The male Gibba turtle apparently has "the sex appeal of a floating toupee."
Curiously, there is no mention of Senator John Cornyn anywhere in the story.