I don’t know how many people would care to know, but “Solatario Jorge” or “Lonesome George” recently died at the Charles Darwin Research Station in the Galápagos. Lonesome George was the last of his subspecies of Galápagos Tortoises. While I was studying abroad in the Galápagos, I spent quite a bit of time studying the tortoises for my Evolutionary Biology Class. The obvious differences between the tortoises’ shells, length of legs, and other characteristics based on their islands (or parts of their islands) partially inspired Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. For today’s Throwback Thursday, I thought I’d share some pictures from some of my experiences with them.
The first set of pictures is from the Charles Darwin Research Station on Isabela Island. It was just a short bike ride or walk away from my school, and I visited a few times during the summer. The Galápagos Tortoises have experienced a huge population decline in the last century or so, and the research station works to bring the species back up. The station is home to several sub-species of the tortoises from eggs to hatchlings to centenarians.
This second set of pictures was from our trip to another island, Floreana. On this island we were able to hike to an area where we could observe the tortoises living in their natural environment. There were so many. It was very neat being so close to them.
For my final project in my Evolutionary Biology Class, I decided to do a presentaiton on how the eruption of Volcán Cerro Azul might affect the two subspecies of tortoises unique to vicinity of the volcano. Don’t worry, I won’t go into the nerdy details.