January 12th, 2012 | University

Yale researchers find evidence of lost tortoise

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Photo by Creative Commons.

Six feet long, 900 pounds and back from the dead?

A giant tortoise species studied by Darwin and thought to be extinct for 150 years may still be alive, according to Yale researchers. The researchers analyzed the blood samples of over 1600 Galapagos turtles living on Isabela Island and found evidence than that over 40 ‘extinct’ C. elephantopus turtles may still be living. They theorize that whalers and pirate ships brought the turtles from their initial home on Floreana to Isabela in the nineteenth century.

“To our knowledge, this is the first report of the rediscovery of a species by way of tracking the genetic footprints left in the genomes of its offspring,” study co-author Ryan Garrick said in a written statement.

The researchers hope to establish a breeding program and restore the species when they return to the Galapagos later this year.

To quote a twenty-first century classic, “Dude”.