We closely follow the research of Dr. Shit Fun Chew of National Institute of Education, Singapore. Her most recent piece of work is ‘The Chinese soft-shelled turtle, Pelodiscus sinensis, excretes urea mainly through the mouth instead of the kidney’ [J Exp Biol 2012 215:ii. ; doi:10.1242/jeb.080614]. She and her co-authors write:
This study was undertaken to test the hypothesis that the buccophyaryngeal cavity constitutes an important excretory route for urea in P. sinensis. Results indicate that a major portion of urea was excreted through the mouth instead of the kidney during immersion. […] These results indicate for the first time that buccopharyngeal villiform processes (BVP) and rhythmic pharyngeal movements were involved in urea excretion in P. sinensis.
Apparently, other soft-shelled turtle excrements still leave the body the usual way. We congratulate Dr Shit Fun Chew on this discovery, and thank Maarten Keulemans for bringing this to our attention.
BONUS QUESTION: Is this the most extreme case on record of nominative determinism?