Dinos, dodos, auks, some pigeons, some dolphins – went away from existence and never came back.
But there are certain animals who have come back from extinction! Come back, or had never really gone away?
On an expedition to the Galápagos Islands of Ecuador, a huge tortoise, very huge, in fact, belonging to the ‘giant’ category was spotted hiding behind the bush. Funny thing is, this species of tortoises has been thought of as extinct for over a century!
Surprised? Stunned? Speechless?
Let’s break it down!
The “extinct” tortoise
The ‘Galápagos giant tortoise’, often also known as the ‘Fernandina tortoise’ is known to science as Chelonoidis phantasticus.
This special large tortoise can grow up to a metre or longer and can weigh a whooping 700lbs! Now, if you’ve paid attention in science class, you know tortoises can live up to 80 years. But, owing to the huge size, Fernandina tortoises live for over a 100 years! That means this adorable giant is probably going to outlive you.
The discovery and rediscovery
Back in 1906, a group of scientists from the California Academy of Sciences, on an expedition to Ecuador had found a single male specimen of this species. They took back this tortoise, and it was these samples that helped in the confirmation that the gentle female tortoise we found in 2019 is, indeed, of the same species.
After 1906, these tortoises had been considered extinct because of no more sightings. And owing to the volcano eruptions in the area, extinction was considered obvious.
So, did they actually come back from extinction ‘of never’ had been absent in the first place?
The female tortoise spotted in 2019 is over 100 years old!
Which points all fingers towards people who declared this species extinct. WHY DO YOU DO THIS?
This individual female is at a breeding centre right now, located in Santa Cruz, and scientists are trying to look for a male counterpart so that the two can carry on hanky-panky breeding, and save the species in the process!
Are there any more tortoises of this breed who are alive?
It’s possible, yes. Prints and, um, droppings have been found on Fernandina islands – something scientists believe indicates the possibility of more individuals of this species
But even one is enough to make the Ecuadorians joyous! They are celebrating this rediscovery, and their Environment Minister was delighted enough to say “Hope is alive”!
Petition to name this girl ‘Hope’, anyone?
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