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Lonesome George may not be alone

Lonesome George is a giant Galapagos tortoise (Geochelone abingdoni) collected from the isolated island of Pinta in 1972 - the last of his kind. Through modern genetic analysis of all 11 extant Galapagos tortoise species, researchers have discovered a first generation hybrid descendant of his kind, but in a G. becki population.

Full article at EurekAlert

Have you watched my 2 minute video on the Australia Zoo website promoting conservation? The thumbnail icon there shows an Aldabran tortoise - similar in morphology, but all the way from Africa.

Of course, the tortoises were a favourite with Steve Irwin, and on my recent visit to volunteer at the zoo, staff told a story that when some of the tortoises were being driven up to Australia Zoo from Taronga Zoo in Sydney, they'd stick their heads out the car window and onlookers would think E.T. was on the move.

Australia Zoo's former resident Galapagos tortoise - Harriet - who died 23 June 2006 aged 175 (born 1830) was believed to have been brought to Australia by Charles Darwin.

Although the new discovery is another male, it was found amongst a very small subset of the 2000-strong population. The search is now on to find additional individuals that may be first-generation descendants of George's kind.

For a photo of Lonesome George himself, see canada.com.

Photo of Giant Galapagos Tortoise (exact species uncertain) from Wikipedia.

Giant Galapagos Tortoise

Posted by: admin on 30th Apr 2007 08:59 PM
Updated by: admin on 03rd May 2007 07:11 PM
Expires: 01st Jan 2012 12:00 AM

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