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No. 52: Jul-Aug 1987

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New Vertebrate Depth Record

S. Eckert, of the University of Georgia, has reported that a leatherback turtle fitted with a recording device dove to 1200 meters. This exceeds the previous record for air-breathing vertebrates (sperm whales). Leatherbacks also hold other records, being the largest of living turtles (over 600 kilograms) and the most widely distributed reptile in the world. They are also capable of maintaining their body temperatures sub stantially above the ambient water temperature, although no one has as yet claimed that they are warm-blooded.

(Mrosovsky, N.; "Leatherback Turtle Off Scale," Nature, 327:286, 1987.)

From Science Frontiers #52, JUL-AUG 1987. � 1987-2000 William R. Corliss