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Offbeat Relative of extinct tortoise located in Galapagos

12:15  02 february  2020
12:15  02 february  2020 Source:   msn.com

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A scientific expedition to the Galapagos Islands has discovered a tortoise with a "strong" genetic link to a presumed- extinct subspecies made famous © RODRIGO BUENDIA Lonely George, the last giant tortoise of the Pinta species, is seen at Galapagos National Park on Santa Cruz Island in June 2006.

The Galapagos Islands, located 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean, were made famous by Charles Darwin’s studies Photo: Lonely George, the last giant tortoise of the Pinta species, is seen at Galapagos National Park on Santa Cruz Island in June 2006 AFP/File

a turtle in the grass: Lonely George, the last giant tortoise of the Pinta species, is seen at Galapagos National Park on Santa Cruz Island in June 2006© RODRIGO BUENDIA Lonely George, the last giant tortoise of the Pinta species, is seen at Galapagos National Park on Santa Cruz Island in June 2006

A scientific expedition to the Galapagos Islands has discovered a tortoise with a "strong" genetic link to a presumed-extinct subspecies made famous by the popular Lonesome George, national park officials said Friday.

George, the last known member of the Chelonoidis nigra abingdonii Pinta tortoise species, died in 2012 in captivity aged over 100 after refusing to provide any offspring.

The Galapagos National Parks (PNG) said the expedition had discovered a young, female specimen deemed "a high-importance find because it has a strong genetic component of the species 'Chelonoidis abingdonii.'"

This Bird Went Extinct, Then Evolution Recreated It

  This Bird Went Extinct, Then Evolution Recreated It Sometime between 136,000 and 240,000 years ago, a flock of awkward, leggy birds took off from Madagascar and arrived at a pristine island in the Aldabra atoll 400km away. “This is nice,” they may have thought — there were no predators, and the birds colonised the island. Without the threat of predation, they eventually lost their ability to fly. But 136,000 years ago, a flood washed over the island, wiping out this unique flightless species. Soon after the island reemerged, another flock took off from Madagascar and arrived at Aldabra — and evolution played out in almost the same way.

AFP/File / RODRIGO BUENDIA Lonely George, the last giant tortoise of the Pinta species, is seen at Galapagos National Park on Santa Cruz Island in June 2006. A scientific expedition to the Galapagos Islands has discovered a tortoise with a "strong" genetic link to a presumed- extinct subspecies made

A scientific expedition to the Galapagos Islands has discovered a tortoise with a "strong" genetic link to a presumed- extinct subspecies made famous by the popular The Galapagos Islands, located 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean, were made famous by Charles

She "could be a direct descendant of a pure individual, which could still be alive somewhere," the park said.

Park rangers and scientists from PNG and the Galapagos Conservancy found an additional 29 tortoises -- 11 males and 18 females -- that share part of their genetic makeup with the Chelonoidis niger Floreana subspecies, also thought to be extinct.

Researchers chose Wolf Volcano for their expedition because whalers and pirates who would eat the animals were thought to have dumped some of the tortoises there in the past to lighten their ships' loads.

The Galapagos Islands, located 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean, were made famous by Charles Darwin's studies of their breathtaking biodiversity.

The park says there are 10,000 to 12,000 tortoises on the volcano.

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