Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 15, 2012

Extinct Galapago Giant Tortoise May Still Be Around?

Wired Science reports that genetic evidence show that an extinct giant tortoise, Chelonoidis elephantopus, found in the Galápagos Islands are very likely to still exist.  Genetic research shows that hybrid tortoises have significant amounts of DNA from the Chelonoidis elephantopus. The Chelonoidis elephantopus  Giant Tortoise were killed by sailors and used as a food source.  Sailors were also responsible for spreading the Giant Tortoises to different islands.

Although no purebred tortoises were found, scientists believe it is highly likely they exist. Wired Science says “None of the purebreds was spotted, but because of the genetic signals’ strength and the hybrids’ youth — many were juveniles — the researchers estimate that about 40 purebreds still survive.”

Wired Science  Extinct Giant Tortoise May Still Be Alive in Galapagos
Current Biology Genetic rediscovery of an ‘extinct’ Galápagos giant tortoise species

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