Jun
23
2006

Tortoise at Como Park: Photo by Art Oglesby  You can see this tortoise at Como Park Zoo.
Tortoise at Como Park: Photo by Art Oglesby You can see this tortoise at Como Park Zoo.

Giant Galapagos tortoise Harriet has died of a suspected heart attack.

At 176, Harriet was recognised as the world's oldest living chelonian - a reptile with a shell or bony plates.
It is believed Harriet was one of three animals naturalist Charles Darwin brought back from his trip to the Galapagos Islands in 1835 and which led to his theories of evolution and natural selection.
There is a bit of a dispute about whether (Harriet) was actually part of Darwin’s collection or not,” Colin McCarthy, collection manager of reptiles, amphibians and fish at the Natural History Museum, said.
What is not in doubt is Harriet’s age. The US research on tortoise DNA “baselines” showed big changes in tortoise DNA on Santa Cruz island after a terrible cull there. Harriet’s DNA predates the cull, making her at least 170.
Harriet was mistaken for a male for at least the first 124 years of her life. There are thought to be barely a dozen of her sub-species left alive.
Sources: Times Online; News.com.au

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

Gruntzooki has a photo of Harriet from April '06 in his Flicker photo collection.

posted on Fri, 06/23/2006 - 8:22pm

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <h3> <h4> <em> <i> <strong> <b> <span> <ul> <ol> <li> <blockquote> <object> <embed> <param> <sub> <sup>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may embed videos from the following providers vimeo, youtube. Just add the video URL to your textarea in the place where you would like the video to appear, i.e. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pw0jmvdh.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Images can be added to this post.

More information about formatting options