‘Fantastic giant tortoise,’ believed extinct, confirmed alive in the Galápagos

Monday, Jun 13, 2022

A tortoise from a Galápagos species long believed extinct has been found alive and now confirmed to be a living member of the species. The tortoise, named Fernanda after her Fernandina Island home, is the first of her species identified in more than a century. By sequencing the genomes of both the living individual and the museum specimen, and comparing them to the other 13 species of Galápagos giant tortoises, EEB postdoc Stephen Gaughran showed that the two known Fernandina tortoises are members of the same species, genetically distinct from all others. He is co-first author on a paper in the current issue of Communications Biology confirming her species’ continued existence.

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