Lost and found – Tortoise DNA! 11/01/12

The Galapagos tortoise which lived on Floreana was thought to have become extinct but new research shows that they may not be but just very good at hiding!

 

The tortoises, scientific name Chelonoidis elephantopus, have not been seen in over 150 years but now there is DNA evidence that these tortoises are alive and breeding. Being 1metre in length and weighing over half a tonne they must be really good at hiding! Scientists have found a hybrid tortoise at another location on the island, Wolf Volcano, which must have C. Elephantopus as a parent. At least 30 of the sampled hybrids would have a parent that is still alive on the island as they live to 150 years old. It is likely that these tortoises are very good at camouflaging themselves or bury underground.

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