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article imagePost-Mortem of famous tortoise Lonesome George

By Jack Goldenberg     Jun 26, 2012 in Environment
Guayaquil - The famous Pinta Island tortoise (Chelonoidis abingdoni) known to the international nature community and all environmentalists as "Lonesome George" died on Sunday, under unknown circumstances.
Early Sunday morning another part of natural evolution and God's creation has come to an end. Representatives of the Galapagos National Park in Ecuador announced that the last enduring Pinta tortoise died on the Galapagos Island Santa Cruz. The famous Pinta Island tortoise (Chelonoidis abingdoni) known to the international nature community and all environmentalists as "Lonesome George" died on Sunday, under unknown circumstances. George was the last of his kind making his Tortoise subspecies extinct. The reason for his demise will be investigated and verified, and afterwards he probably will be embalmed for future generations to see. The tortoise was thought to be about 99 or 100 years of age. Found in 1972 while not expecting to locate any more of his kind, he was known as an icon of the Galápagos Islands. His species assisted Darwin write his theory of evolution, when principals of "Natural selection" were new to the world of science, in the nineteenth century.
George symbolized the struggle of all Galapagos and world species to survive and mate against all odds, was considered one of the rarest species on earth, and was seen by thousands every year. For years, scientists and specialists unsuccessfully tried to get the Pinta Island tortoise to reproduce with females from a similar subspecies on the Galapagos Islands, and he became part of the Galapagos National Park breeding program. Two attempts to assist him with the mating process failed, although the first attempt to mate resulted in three infertile eggs. Scientist expected George, who was a bit overweight, to survive at least another few decades as expected from his species (Tortoises can reach the age of 200 years). In the 19th century the numbers of tortoises and their appearance assisted Darwin with his understanding of adaptability. Later on the numbers began to dwindle due to hunting by sailors. Goats brought on to the Islands caused the numbers to diminish even further. To date there are around twenty thousand Tortoises on the Islands.
Lonesome George  the Galapagos Island last pinto tortoise dies
Lonesome George, the Galapagos Island last pinto tortoise dies
More about Tortoise, Extinction, Extinct, Galapagos islands, Galapagos
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