Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- The Testudinata or shield-reptiles; the turtles and tortoises; an order of Reptilia, in which the body is inclosed in a shell consisting of a carapace and a plastron, from between which the head, tail, and four limbs protrude. These animals have the bones of the skull united to such a degree that the quadrates and pterygoids form part of the same mass as the rest; there are no teeth, the jaws being incased in horn and forming a beak; the eyes are provided with eyelids; and a sacrum is developed. In consequence of the formation of the shell, the cervical and caudal regions are the only movable parts of the spinal column; the dorsal vertebræ are devoid of transverse processes; the ribs are not movable upon the vertebræ; and the union of the vertebræ and ribs by means of superficial bony plates almost always forms the carapace or upper shell, the lower shell or plastron being composed of dermal bones, usually 9 in number, 1 median, and 4 lateral and paired. Tortoise-shell is the peculiar epidermal or exoskeletal integument of the bony case. The lungs extend into the abdominal cavity with the other viscera. The Chelonia are generally sluggish, cold-blooded animals, very tenacious of life, and able to pass long periods without food. Some, however, are quite active. They are oviparous. Most of the species are carnivorous and predatory, but the true land-tortoises are mainly herbivorous. There are over 200 species, among them a few gigantic ones, as the tortoises of the Galapagos and Mascarene islands: one of the fossil species is said to have been about 20 feet long. The living genera are very numerous. The Chelonia are variously subdivided. They were formerly generally distributed among four families, the club-footed land-tortoises, the related fresh-water tortoises, the soft tortoises, and the sea-turtles. Huxley called these four groups Testudinea, Emydea, Trionychoidea, and Euereta. These groups have, however, been long discarded, and the species are now segregated among many families which have been variously combined. Most of the species of the southern hemisphere belong to a peculiar old-fashioned group, the pleurodirous, while those of the northern are cryptodirous. Also Chelonides, Chelonii.
- Same as Chelone, 1.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) An order of reptiles, including the tortoises and turtles, peculiar in having a part of the vertebræ, ribs, and sternum united with the dermal plates so as to form a firm shell. The jaws are covered by a horny beak. See reptilia; also,
- n. tortoises and turtles
- n. green turtles
“House, Herbert and Neb were fortunate enough to capture a magnificent specimen of the order of chelonia.”
“I thought I could see floating on the surface of the waters enormous chelonia, preadamite tortoises, resembling floating islands.”
“This may be accounted for by the fact that Darwin, in the last four editions of the Origin of Species quoted a statement by von Baer to the effect that: “` Embryos of birds, lizards, and snakes, probably also of chelonia are in their earliest states exceeding like one another '””
“A better proof of this latter fact cannot be given than the statement by von Baer that The embryos of mammalia, of birds, lizards, and snakes, probably also of chelonia are in their earliest states exceedingly like one another, both as a whole and in the mode of development of their parts; so much so, in fact, that we can often distinguish the embryos only by their size.”
“Above this bed lie those which have been called the Wealden, from their full development in the Weald of Sussex; and these as incontestably argue that the dry land forming the dirt-bed had next afterwards become the area of brackish estuaries, or lakes partially connected with the sea; for the Wealden strata contain exuviae of fresh-water tribes, besides those of the great saurians and chelonia.”
“Cuvier's four orders of reptilia (sauria, chelonia, and batrachia) are represented in this formation, the serpent order (ophidia) being alone wanting.”
“The owner of the stall was arrested when the giant green turtles, named chelonia mydas, were found inside his storehouse in Denpasar, chief detective Col. Andi Taqdir Rahmantiro said.”
“Boothe said green sea turtles (chelonia mydas) are seen off of the Oregon coast and as far north as southern Alaska, however, it is usually in the summer months when the water is a bit warmer.”
“The embryos of mammals, birds, lizards and snakes, and probably chelonia”
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