26 Nov 2012:
Giant Galapagos Tortoise
May Not Be Extinct After All, Tests Reveal
The death of an iconic, century-old giant tortoise on the Galapagos Islands earlier this year may not have meant the end of his species, an upcoming study suggests. In an analysis of more than 1,600 DNA
Galapagos National Park
samples, scientists from Galapagos National Park (GNP) and Yale University determined that at least 17 tortoises found on a volcano on Isabella Island have similar genetic traits
to a tortoise known as “Lonesome George,” a Pinta Island giant tortoise discovered in 1972 and thought to be the last surviving member of his species, Chelonoidis abingdonii
, until his death in June. According to the GNP website, the discovery suggests the possible existence of additional hybrid tortoises — or even “possibly-pure Pinta” giant tortoises — in the Galapagos. Scientists estimate that more than 300,000 giant tortoises may have lived on the islands
, located more than 600 miles off the Ecuador coast, before whalers and pirates decimated populations in the 18th and 19th centuries. The results of the study will be published in the journal Biological Conservation
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
Photographer Robert Wintner documents the exquisite beauty and biodiversity of Cuba’s unspoiled coral reefs. View the gallery.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.