Skeletal System of the Turtle

by Rebecca E. Brown and Amyann Madara (2000)

graphic from

The turtle is an important organism in the Class Reptilia, Subclass Anapsida, and Order Chelonia (Testudines). The turtle is studied in comparative anatomy because it is the only extant member of the Subclass Anapsida. Members of the Subclass Anapsida have no fenestration in the skull. Differences can be seen in the turtle skeleton due to this trait.

We have arranged our atlas in the order that the skeletal system of the turtle is studied in comparative anatomy. On both the snapping turtle and sea turtle skull pages there are links, which you can click on in order to compare the two types of skulls side by side.

Using the "Compare to ... " links:

Snapping Turtle Skull
Sea Turtle Skull
Entire Turtle Skeleton
Appendicular Skeleton

Back to MSU's Online Comparative Anatomy Photographic Atlas