Scientists Discover Tortoise With Genetic Link To Presumed Extinct Species

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In a scientific discovery in Galapagos Islands, researchers discovered a tortoise with a genetic link to the presumed extinct Chelonoidis nigra abingdonii

Written By Ruchit Rastogi | Mumbai | Updated On:
Scientists

In a recent scientific discovery in Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, researchers discovered a tortoise with an apparent genetic link to the assumed extinct Chelonoidis nigra abingdonii Pinta tortoise species. The last known tortoise of the assumed extinct species died in the year 2012 at an age of 102-years-old. According to reports, the Galapagos National Parks (PNG) reportedly stated that the expedition had resulted in the discovery of a female tortoise with a strong genetic link to the Chelonoidis abingdonii.

The Pinta Island tortoise

The Pinta Island tortoise is known as a species of the Galapagos tortoise that is presumed to be extinct. According to reports, the species was first described by Albert Gunther in the year 1877. Reports suggest that numbers of the Pinta Island tortoises perished due to extensive hunting. The name abingdonii is derived from short statements of the voyages of Captain James Colnett in the year 1798 and Basil Hall in the year 1822.

According to reports, the closest living relatives of the Galapagos tortoises all came from South America. They are- yellow-footed tortoise (Geochelone denticulata), the red-footed tortoise (Geochelone carbonaria), and the Chaco tortoise (Geochelone chilensis). Researchers and rangers from the Galapagos National Park also discovered 29 tortoises out which 18 were females and 11 were male. According to reports, the 29 tortoises shared a strong genetic link with Chelonoidis niger Floreana, a subspecies also presumed to be extinct.

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The Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative

A giant tortoise from Santa Cruz Island off the southwestern coast of California saved its entire species from extinction by fathering 800 babies. Diego, the giant tortoise with an age of more than 100 years was reportedly a part of the group which was chosen for a special breeding programme in the 1960s.

The Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative(GTRI), which was started by Ecuador’s Environmental Ministry to protect the species from facing extinction when only two males, 12 female tortoises of the Chelonoidis hoodensis species were surviving on the island of Española in the Galápagos. After a period of about 50 years, the breeding programme produced more than 2,000 baby tortoises and 800 out of them were Diego’s offsprings.

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