Friday, 23 October 2015

New Species of Giant Tortoise Found in the Galápagos

by Laura Geggel, Staff Writer | October 21, 2015 02:00pm ET

Paging Charles Darwin: The island of Santa Cruz within the Galápagos has not one but two distinct species of giant tortoise, a new genetic study finds.

For years, researchers thought that the giant tortoises living on the western and eastern sides of Santa Cruz belonged to the same species. But the tortoises look slightly different, and so recently, scientists ran genetic tests on about 100 tortoises from both groups.

The tests were definitive: The two tortoise populations, which live only about 6 miles (10 kilometers) apart on the opposite sides of the island, are actually extremely distant relatives.

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