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Variation of hyoid morphology in geoemydid terrapins

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The hyoid apparati of 25 geoemydid species in 16 genera (including aquatic, semiterrestrial and terrestrial taxa) are compared, and for Cuora galbinifrons bourreti ontogenetic development of the hypoid apparatus is described. Generally, ossification of the hyoid apparatus increases with age. The majority of terrestrial species maintain cartilaginous or partially cartilaginous hyoid bodies and second branchial horns throughout life however. Also in tortoises (Testudinidae) hyoid body and second branchial horns remain cartilaginous, suggesting a positive correlation between mode of life and hyoid morphology (terrestrial species with partly cartilaginous hyoid apparatus vs. aquatic species with fully ossified hyoid apparatus).


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