Yale researchers help rescue extinct tortoises

For years before his death in 2012 in the Galápagos Islands, people around the world followed the sad saga of “Lonesome George.” The hope was that George, the last saddleback tortoise of his species, would mate before he died. While there wasn’t much anyone could do for George, an international expedition from Yale found 23 tortoises with sufficient DNA to breed a different but related saddleback species back into existence. Much will depend on the ability of the nine males and 14 females to procreate over successive generations. Announced in September through the journal Scientific Reports, the story may have to wait some time for a happy ending: Saddleback tortoises don’t reach sexual maturity for a quarter-century.


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