AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Turtle Telepathy

Photo Credit: Me


Have you ever heard of twin telepathy? Ever wished that you could communicate telepathically? Well, Australian River Turtles have their own form of telepathy. Female turtles dig a hole in the sand of a beach to lay their eggs. They then cover the hole with sand to protect against predators and leave their eggs to mature. The baby turtles mature on their own without the help of a parent, obviously they develop a special bond because the eggs wait until everyone is ready to hatch.


When the eggs are in the hole in the sand, the eggs on the bottom are colder in temperature than the eggs above them. Therefore, the eggs on top mature faster than the eggs on the bottom. However, if some eggs mature faster than others, then why do all of the eggs hatch at the same time? The answer is that they wait for each other. The turtles communicate with each other while they are still in their eggs through the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the hole. When the eggs on top are more mature, they breath more, raising the level of carbon dioxide in the hole. The increase in carbon dioxide triggers a metabolic response in the underdeveloped eggs; it speeds up their metabolism. Ricky-John Spencer in Sydney, Australia believes that this communication can be attributed to evolution because if all of the turtles hatch and head to the ocean together, they have a lesser chance of being eaten by predators. Therefore, the eggs that hatched in a batches or around the same time had a higher chance of living than the eggs that hatched at all different times.

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  1. 12whiteal

    cool article michael2012! I never knew that turtles all hatched together let alone that CO2 and O2 are involved with it. However, last year the turtle nests ,near the gulf of mexico, were moved to a safer location. This means that the eggs all moved and might have been placed in nests without their brothers and sisters. Do you think they still have turtle telepathy? Heres the link to the video for more information.

  2. gambibambi

    Wow Michael, that’s so cool how different levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide effect turtle development before they are even born! Did you know that turtles aren’t the only animals that communicate with each other from within eggs? Scientists from Humboldt-University of Berlin found that birds such as quail, pheasant, and geese use calls to communicate with each other from inside the egg. In fact, many birds use these egg calls to synchronize when they hatch just as turtles do with eggs! How cool is that! For more on this visit:

  3. lagis2012

    This is really interesting! I wonder if this is true for other animals who hatch eggs. Could be a detail in evolution that happens over multiple species, not just turtles.

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