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College student’s turtle project takes dark twist

In this Dec. 12 2012 phoClemsUniversity student Nathan Weaver holds fake turtle he is using his research try save animals

In this Dec. 12, 2012 photo, Clemson University student Nathan Weaver holds a fake turtle he is using in his research to try and save the animals in Clemson, S.C. Weaver is placing the fake turtle in roads near campus and seeing how many drivers intentionally run over it. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)

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Updated: December 27, 2012 12:44PM

CLEMSON, S.C. — A college student in South Carolina set out to determine how to help turtles safely cross the road. He ended up getting a glimpse of the dark side of human nature.

Nathan Weaver of Clemson University put realistic-looking rubber turtles in the middle of a road. Then he got out of the way and watched over the next hour as seven drivers swerved and deliberately ran over the animal.

Several other motorists apparently tried to hit it but missed.

To seasoned researchers, it wasn’t all that surprising.

One psychology professor says sometimes humans just feel a need to prove they are the dominant species on this planet by taking a two-ton metal vehicle and squishing a defenseless creature under the tires.

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