10-23-2015, 04:43 AM
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New species of tortoise found on Galapagos island
New species of tortoise found on Galapagos island | Fox News
There are few species that symbolize the Galapagos archipelago more than the giant tortoises found there.
By some accounts, they were so numerous when Spanish explorers arrived that they named the island chain after them and they helped inspire Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection.
Scientists in the coming decades would name 15 species - four of them now extinct. But there was thought to be only one species, Chelonoidis porteri, on the island of Santa Cruz – until now.
Thanks to DNA testing from tortoise bones that were almost a century old and found in museums in Wisconsin, the United Kingdom and Galapagos, an international team writing in the journal PLOS One this week has identified a second
species on the island.
They concluded that a few hundred giant tortoises living on the eastern side of Santa Cruz are distinct from a second, larger population living less than 6.2 miles away on the western side. The new species, C. donfaustoi, is named after a
retiring park ranger who spent decades protecting the tortoises.