Scientists have debated for years where turtles belong on the evolutionary map. It is one of the hottest questions in the field of systematics. Using turtles' genes, some scientists have insisted turtles belong to the group of animals that includes crocodiles and birds. Still others believe, based on physical characteristics, that turtles are more closely related to lizards. The issue may now be solved. Using groundbreaking new microRNA techniques, the evidence reveals that turtles are indeed evolutionary cousins to lizards. Paleobiologists compared microRNA of an anole lizard to the western painted turtle and American alligator. Results show that some of the lizard microRNA was present in the turtle but absent in bird, crocodile and other mammal microRNA. MicroRNA provides a molecular map of a species evolutionary past.