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.
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.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.