Why are Turtles Slow?
I want to know why turtles are so slow, and whether or not that has anything to do with their longevity, please…..
Well, turtles are slow because they don’t have to be fast. They’re herbivores, so they don’t have to chase their food. They have nice, thick shells, which means that most predators simply don’t bother with them. So, they don’t have to chase food, and they don’t have to run away from predators, so there isn’t any reason for them to be anything except slow. They are very well adapted to their ecological niche. Speeding around can lead to Bad Things – like falls, broken bones (or shells), sprains, bruises and otherwise unpleasant things. Unless there is a reason for speed, it is usually selected against (that whole Darwin thing, y’know?).
Turtles have a fairly low metabolism, and are among the longest lived vertebrates (other reptiles like crocodiles, and some fish can live a long time too). Is their slow metabolism linked to long life? We don’t really know. In order to answer that, we’d have to know what causes aging, and we haven’t figured that out yet. There are some indications that certain metabolic processes have byproducts that may play a role in aging. If that is true, then a slow metabolism would slow down the production of those by products, and could lead to longer life spans. As a general rule, slower metabolism does correlate with longer life (and vice-versa). Of course, size also correlates with life span… In biology there are a lot of correlations that may or not mean anything. Until there is a solid well-thought out, tested, and supported theory, all we can do is guess.