After Being Believed To Be Extinct For A Century Scientist Rediscovers A Giant Tortoise
The giant tortoise was a creature of legend and as of recently believed to be extinct. These massive creatures were known to inhabit the islands of Galapagos and were renowned for being a food source for numerous ships. These are some of the most complex creatures on the planet. Tourists on a 4 day cruise on board the Galapagos Legend often look out for these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.
They do not need to eat or even drink water for a year and still survive with ease. They can live over 100 years and have been on this planet for over 250 million years. Unfortunately, thanks to human intervention, these creatures reached the brink of extinction and then went over into hiding but recently one was found alive and safe.
1The Giant Tortoise
The legendary giant tortoise has been believed to extinct for over a century but a recent discovery has changed everything. Around the Galapagos Islands, researchers found a live giant tortoise for the first time in over 110 years. It was a female adult giant tortoise which was discovered on February 17th.
The tortoises are known to weigh around 417 kg and can grow to be 1.3m which is around 4ft 3inches. These were known to inhabit two groups of islands: One was the Aldabra Atoll and Fregate Islands in the Seychelles and second is the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. These animals belong to the ancient group of reptiles as they appeared around 250 million years ago.
3Extinct or alive?
Since the last sighting of the giant tortoise was in 1906, people have long believed that the tortoises were extinct. The reason why these tortoises grow so large has been credited to the phenomenon called ‘island gigantism’. There was a rumored sighting in 2009 but no proof was provided for the sighting.
4How do they grow so big?
Island gigantism, also known as insular gigantism is what happens when animals on an isolated island grow larger and bigger than its counterparts on the mainland. There are many factors that influence this. For example, there is no fear about predators, the environment provides plentiful and a variety of food. One theory suggests that these animals were born to grow this large and is not an example of insular gigantism.
Belonging to the ancient group of reptiles as they were reported to be on the planet for over 250 million years, these tortoises were said to have become gigantic during the Late Cretaceous period, some 70-80 million years ago. It has been reported that there were around 20 different species of this tortoise. Most of the population of this tortoise began disappearing around 100,000 years ago.