Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012

Chelonoidis elephantopus Turtle

It seems Lonesome George, one of the "last" 100-year-old giant tortoises in the Galápagos, is not so lonesome after all. In January, Current Biology revealed new DNA evidence that proved a giant tortoise subspecies, thought to have been extinct for more than 150 years, was actually alive and well on the Galápagos island of Isabela. There has yet to be an actual sighting, but the research team said the tortoise, called Chelonoidis elephantopus, which can weigh up to 900 lbs. and survive for years without food or water, was likely transported to Isabela via pirate or whaling ship. In order to ensure the species continued survival, researchers plan start a captive breeding program mating hybrids with purebred C. elephantopus — if they can find them.