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Scientists discover that a living relative of a turtle subspecies became extinct in 2012

Scientists find a living relative of a subspecies of turtle that is believed to be extinct in 2012 on an island in the Galapagos

  • A newly discovered turtle is a good omen for a supposedly extinct subspecies
  • Experts say it is a relative of a subspecies that is believed to be extinct in 2012
  • A direct decedent of the subspecies may exist in another part of the island.
  • Last year, researchers made an equally significant discovery.
  • They found a species that was believed extinct 100 years ago

In fact, a species of supposedly extinct turtle can live.

According to the Galapagos Islands researchers, a recently discovered turtle has a strong genetic link with an ancestor called & # 39; Lonsome George & # 39 ;, the last known member of the subspecies Chelonoidis nigra abingdonii Pinta who died in 2012.

Researchers from the Galapagos National Parks say that the expedition, which was launched last month in the Wolf Volcano on Isabela Island, discovered a young and female specimen considered "a finding of great importance because it has a strong genetic component of the species, Chelonoidis abingdonii ".

The researchers made a surprising discovery with a turtle that genetically resembles a species that is believed to be extinct in 2012. The above image is a specimen of the Galapagos giant tortoise Chelonoidis phantasticus, which until recently had become extinct a century.

The researchers made a surprising discovery with a turtle that genetically resembles a species that is believed to be extinct in 2012. The above image is a specimen of the Galapagos giant tortoise Chelonoidis phantasticus, which until recently had become extinct a century.

They say the genetic link suggests that there could be a pure surviving member of the species hidden on the island.

"(She) could be a direct descendant of a pure individual, who could still be alive somewhere," said the park.

The species, like many species of giant tortoises, were hunted in excess for their meat by European settlers and others who traveled to the Galapagos archipelago.

Park rangers and Galapagos Conservancy scientists say they found 29 additional turtles, including 11 males and 18 females, which share part of their genetic makeup with the subspecies Chelonoidis niger Floreana, which is also believed to be extinct.

Lonesome George (pictured in 2009) was approximately 100 years old when he died in 2012 or a loss that was thought to mark the official extinction of his species

Lonesome George (pictured in 2009) was approximately 100 years old when he died in 2012 or a loss that was thought to mark the official extinction of his species

Lonesome George (pictured in 2009) was approximately 100 years old when he died in 2012 or a loss that was thought to mark the official extinction of his species

The discovery of a potential in relation to the Lone George is the last sign of hope since a discovery made last year.

In 2019, a species of giant female turtle that is believed to be extinct more than 100 years ago was seen in the Galapagos Islands.

The sighting occurred during an expedition to the island of Fernandina in the western Ecuadorian region of the archipelago funded by Animal Planet for an upcoming documentary series entitled & # 39; Extinct or Alive & # 39 ;.

"Just like George Solitario was an extinction icon, I think it can become an icon of wildlife hope. It is the rarest, if not animal, turtle in the world and one of the largest discoveries in Galapagos. in the last century & # 39; & # 39 ;, said the leader of the Forrest Galante expedition at that time.

Scientists believe that the turtles first came to the Galapagos Islands two or three million years ago after moving 600 miles from the South American coast in vegetation rafts.

They were already large reptiles before reaching the islands.

Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos Islands for five weeks on his second trip and appeared in his writings, playing a key role in the development of evolutionary theory.

He observed different finches on different islands, but theorized that they had evolved from the same species.

Differences in the size and shape of the beak were linked to the food sources available on the respective islands, which gave rise to the theory of natural selection.

WHAT ARE THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS?

The Galapagos Islands are located 563 miles west of the continental territory of Ecuador, of which they are part. They are some of the most remote land masses in the world.

There are 21 islands but only four of them are inhabited, with a population of around 25,000.

They contain more than 1,300 species that are not found anywhere else on earth. With the islands at the intersection of three ocean currents, the sea is the mecca of marine life.

The most famous unique Galapagos species include the giant tortoise, the marine iguana, the flightless cormorant and the Galapagos penguin, the only species of penguin found in the northern hemisphere.

Unesco decided to declare Galapagos World Heritage in Danger in 2007 due to the tourism boom.

In fact, the annual number of visitors has increased from 12,000 in 1979 to more than 300,000 today.

Dozens of Galapagos species are now & # 39; critically endangered & # 39 ;.

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