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Friday, December 9, 2022

Rare Galapagos tortoise discovery to potentially revive the species

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A latest research at Princeton College on the Chelonoidis phantasticus particulars the rediscovery of the species three years in the past, after it had been believed to be extinct for over 100 years. This rediscovery has rekindled scientists’ hopes of reviving the species.

The tortoise is the primary of its sort to be discovered since a male specimen was found by Rollo Beck throughout an expedition in 1906. The newcomer is fondly named after her space of origin – Fernandina Island. The archipelago is basically unexplored on account of an energetic volcano.

Ecology and evolutionary biology researcher at Princeton College Stephen Gaughran informed The Guardian ‘it’s a giant deal for a species that we thought was extinct for 100 years to immediately seem right here.’

Fernanda was discovered roaming the island three years in the past in 2019, rekindling hopes for scientists that the uncommon species had not gone extinct and was there all this time. DNA testing confirmed their suspicions.

All big Galapagos tortoises vary from weak to critically endangered and one species is extinct. The phantasticus was regarded as extinct as nicely, till Fernanda got here alongside.

The group of scientists concerned within the research had a wholesome scepticism after discovering Fernanda. She is probably going over 50 years previous, however she is smaller than what is understood to be a large tortoise. This, and her flared shell and saddleback form are why scientists initially had their doubts.

Specialists believed initially that the primary specimen was transplanted to Fernandina Island: ‘It appeared like a extra possible rationalization {that a} random tortoise simply ended up there from a unique island,’ mentioned Stephen.

Fernanda’s discovery means that nonetheless she wound up there, she won’t have been alone.

Though Fernanda’s discovery is taken into account a scientific breakthrough, it means nothing if one other male is just not discovered.

‘If we solely have Fernanda, it’s thrilling to have discovered her. But when she doesn’t have one other tortoise to breed with, then there’s nowhere to go. If there are a minimum of just a few of those tortoises nonetheless residing on that island, then that opens up the potential of making an attempt to actually revive the species.’

Image: Screenshot from video

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