Known as Lonesome George, the last giant tortoise of the Galapagos Islands has died.
Lonesome George, the icon of the Galapagos Islands tortoise died at a great age – estimated at 100 years. This giant tortoise from Pinta Island and his subspecies Chelonoidis nigra abingdoni has no descendants and becamse extinct: Lonesome George was part of the Galapagos National Park breeding programme.
After 15 years of living with a female tortoise from the nearby Wolf volcano, Lonesome George did mate, but the eggs were infertile.
He also shared his corral with female tortoises from Espanola island, which are genetically closer to him than those from Wolf volcano, but Lonesome George failed to mate with them.
A Hungarian naturalist who first, described George in 1972. National park managers have said that the famous turtle would autopsied to determine the cause of death, then embalmed for preservation.
The giant tortoises of the Galapagos were made famous by the work of Charles Darwin, young naturalist came in the nineteenth century on the islands of the Pacific Ocean on board of HMS Beagle. His comments have fueled his theory of evolution of species.
These large tortoises can live 150 to 200 years. Thus in 2006 a 176-year-old tortoise, named Harriet and native to the Galapagos, died in an Australian zoo. Harriet would have been shipped from the age of 5 or 6 years to Britain -She was reportedly collected by Charles Darwin during his 1835 visit to the Galápagos Islands as part of his round-the-world survey expedition, transported to England, and then brought to her final home, Australia, by a retiring captain of the Beagle. However, some doubt was cast on this story by the fact that Darwin had never visited the island that Harriet originally came from.. Anyway, Harriet had spent some years in Britain before being transferred to the Botanical Gardens in Brisbane, Australia.