It’s been silent here for a while. I started my stage, participated in various excursions and field experiences and also took 3 exams, so it’s been one hell of a month, and not only because the temperature here is rising at an alarming rate. Hopefully I’ll deliver some more content in the next days, but today I bring you one sad piece of news: Lonesome George is dead. Remember him? He was the last of his subspecies. Now, i’m not usually the one to think that every single existing variety of every single existing species should be preserved at any cost (I think many of these cases could be taxonomic inflation, which in my opinion is more harmful than good for environmental education and sensibilization), and I don’t think that the death of a single tortoise (that additionally didn’t want to mate with any other tortoise of different subspecies) will impact in any way the survival of the species as a whole. But I must admit I’ve always found the tale of the last Pinta tortoise and of the desperate (and sadly useless) efforts to make him reproduce very fascinating and inspiring. R.I.P. Lonesome George, and R.I.P. Chelonoidis nigra abingdoni, a now extinct subspecies.
Most people who are interested in natural history probably have already heard of Lonesome George. Short version: as Darwin himself had noticed during his fateful journey around the world, each of the Galapagos islands had a different variety of Giant Tortoise, a wonderful example of speciation. Lonesome George , a roughly 100 years old male, is the last specimen of the Pinta island variety, Chelonoidis nigra abingdoni. Many attempts at making him reproduce with females of similar species and varieties have been made, but none has been successfull so far, and Ol’ George might one day die without leaving sons, and thus has become a sort of symbol of extremely endangered species.
Since we’re talking about tortoises, which are typically slowly moving animals, here’s an announcement: my blogging, which recently has slowed down in pace a little bit, will slow down even more for the month of december, because of University. So, if you’re one of the few people who read this, expect probably just the Friday’s Featured Organism updates, until Christmas at least. See ya soon.