New Clues to Sea Turtles' "Lost" Years

Young sea turtles may be dependent on jellyfish for food

02-01-2008 // Hannah Schardt

THE MYSTERY has stumped scientists for more than half a century: Where do young green sea turtles go? Soon after they hatch, the silver dollar-sized juvenile turtles vanish into the sea, where they are almost never spotted by humans. When they reappear years later, they are the size of dinner plates. Now three University of Florida researchers believe they have solved part of the puzzle. After analyzing the chemical makeup of the turtles' shells, they concluded that the animals--which eat a vegetarian diet of sea grass as adults--spend the first three to five years of their lives as carnivores in the open ocean, bulking up on a diet of jellyfish.--Hannah Schardt

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