Monday, June 25, 2012

I Heart Lonesome George

Lonesome George
June 25th is a sad day. (But not for my friend Britt, who celebrates his birthday today. Happy Birthday, wherever you are!) The day has the unfortunate distinction of being the day that Michael Jackson died. It's also the day we lost our little cat Mawi. And now, it's the day the world learned of the loss of a very special animal.

Sadly, Lonesome George is no longer with us, and neither are the Pinta Island tortoises. Lonesome George was the last of his kind in the world. The Pinta Island tortoises were believed extinct, but George was discovered in the 1970's and efforts went into trying to mate him with similar giant tortoises. Unfortunetly, all attempts were unsuccessful, and with his death comes the extinction of his species.

He lived out the last of his days on the Galapagos Islands. Many of the giant tortoises that have inhabited the islands have specialized shells that have evolved over time to aid them in getting to the food they need to survive. Some have shells that are very low to the ground because those reptiles find norishment  there, and George's was much higher up to allow his neck to stretch up to reach the leaves he needed. (Watch some David Attenborough documentaries - he was close friends with Lonesome George.)

Although this is a slightly silly post, I really do feel sad that Lonesome George has died. I know I'm putting human feeling on him, but how terrible to be the last of your kind. I think it's a privilage that humankind was able to see George and study him and learn a little more about their world through him, don't you?

No comments:

Post a Comment