We're Doomed: Scientists Discover Turtles That Pee Out of Their Mouths
God bless evolution. It's not every day (it's really more like once every few weeks) scientists discover new species that make our stomachs turn and prove that Mother Nature is one sick lady.
Photograph from FLPA/Alamy
Introducing the Pelodiscus sinensis -- a Chinese soft-shelled turtle that eats, breathes, and pees out of its mouth.
Scientists at the National University of Singapore noticed the peculiar turtles dipping their heads in water and rinsing their mouths instead of drinking.
According to National Geographic, the scientists purchased a few of the turtles at a local market and studied their habits as well as the liquids that were coming out of their mouths while they rinsed.
"After the researchers removed the reptiles from the water but provided them with a puddle, the turtles dipped their heads and, using the water puddles as a mouth rinse, spat out 50 times more urea than was present in the mouth discharge. The urea travels through the reptiles' bloodstreams to their mouths ..."
Researchers attribute the adaptation to the brackish water the turtles live in, which is too salty to survive if the turtles were to drink and pee the traditional way. Instead, the turtles are able to pee out of their mouths (which requires less fluid), and survive on less amounts of water.
The scientists involved in the study told National Geographic that the adaptation might someday be applied to humans with kidney failure: "If active urea-excretion mechanisms can be expressed in the mouth of a patient with kidney failure, urea excretion can still occur, through rinsing the mouth with water--just like the soft-shelled turtle."
Drink up, friends, while you still only have to worry about what goes down.