On Wednesday, the Center for Biological Diversity notified the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of a startling new study that reveals that alligator snapping turtles -- known as "dinosaurs of the turtle world" -- are actually more critically endangered than previously believed. According to the Center, what was once believed to be one species is actually three -- all of which are at risk of extinction and could use their own protections.
"Now we know alligator snappers in the Suwannee River are a unique species found nowhere else in the world," said Collette Adkins Giese, a biologist for the Center. "And the much-needed Endangered Species Act listing for these turtles would help ensure that the Suwannee River is protected for the turtles -- and for humans."
Alligator snapping turtles can grow to be up to 200 pounds and are often preyed upon by hunters, who sell their massive hulking shells in marketplaces around the world.