Turtles are reptiles of the order Testudines (all living turtles belong to the crown group Chelonia), most of whose body is shielded by a special bony or cartilagenous shell developed from their ribs.
The Order Testudines includes both living and extinct species, the earliest turtles being known from the early Triassic Period, making turtles one of the oldest reptile groups, and a much more ancient group than the lizards and snakes.
About 300 species are alive today.
Some species of turtles are highly endangered.
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