November 19, 2012 11:39 am
Last summer, the world mourned the passing of Lonesome George, an approximately 100-year-old giant tortoise who lived at Galapagos National Park. The loss was all the more poignant since conservationists assumed Lonesome George was the last of his species. But newly uncovered DNA evidence suggests that George might have not have been alone after all, National Geographic reports.
Yale researchers collected DNA from more than 1,600 giant tortoises on George’s native Pinta Island in the Galapagos. From their analysis, they found that 17 of the animals shared relations with Lonesome George. Rather than being direct match, however, the 17 are hybrids of Lonesome George’s species and another closely related type of tortoise.
The researchers will perform an even more meticulous tortoise hunt in the hopes of finding Lonesome George’s direct kin. As NatGeo concluded, it’s too bad poor George didn’t live to see all of this.
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