By Henry Nicholls
Lonesome George is a five foot lengthy, two hundred poundtortoise, among 60 and 2 hundred years outdated. In 1971 he used to be came across at the distant Galapagos island of Pinta, from which tortoises had supposedly beenextinct for years. He has been on the Charles Darwin examine Station on Santa Cruz island ever seeing that, at the off-chance that medical ingenuity will conjure up a fashion of reproducing him and resurrecting his species. Meanwhile,countless travelers and dozens of baffled scientists have appeared on because the megastar reptile exhibits now not a jot of curiosity within the girl corporation supplied. at the present time, Lonesome George has come to embrace the secret, complexity and fragility of the original Galapagos archipelago. His tale echoes the demanding situations of conservation all over the world; it's a tale of Darwin, sexual disorder, experience at the excessive seas, cloning, DNA fingerprinting and eco-tourism.
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Additional resources for Lonesome George: The Life and Loves of a Conservation Icon
Beebe was one of the last notable Galapagos figures to hold out against this view. The swimming experiment on the illfated Pinz6n tortoise had made a strong impression. 'I am in perfect agreement with Van Denburgh in regard to the formation of the Galapagos by subsidence', he wrote in Galdpagos: World's End. ' Quick to counter this kind of argument was Charles Townsend, director of the New York Aquarium. O n his early expeditions to the Galapagos - in 1888 and 1891 - Townsend took part in the first attempts to sound out the depths of the Pacific.
There is some debate about whether this evolutionary growth spurt happened on the South American mainland or out in the archipelago. Many are convinced it occurred in the Galapagos: small tortoises made it out to the islands and once there, in the absence of anything to stop them, evolved into giants. This process, known as gigantism, is common on isolated islands; it left some very large creatures in some very small places, although many of these are now extinct.
Good-humoured Grigioni succeeded where nobody has before or since. First, she confirmed that Lonesome George's reproductive anatomy looks normal. Second, she got him to begin showing signs of sexual activity. 'Day by day, he started to be more interested in the females', she recalls. ' Just then, Grigioni's time at the CDRS came to an end, giving 'coitus interruptus' a whole new meaning. She had to return to Europe to begin her doctorate. She never finished what she started and Lonesome George never mated with either of the females.
Lonesome George: The Life and Loves of a Conservation Icon by Henry Nicholls