Lonesome George Tortoise 2010?

Lonesome George is one of several subspecies of Giant Galapagos tortoise.
How old is Lonesome George the Tortoise in 2010? I heard it is pretty old.
It is said to be the last remaining Galapagos giant tortoise alive, once he dies the whole species is extinct.
Why don't they clone Lonesome George before the giant tortoise becomes extinct?
An animal like that is worth a lot for science and future research, how come they let it die just like that?
They have cloned sheep, cows, etc. Why not do it to preserve the species? I hope they do something about Lonesome George.

asked by Vanessa in Other - Pets & Animals | 5670 views | 06-26-2010 at 11:48 PM

There is a 10,000 $ reward for anyone who can find a female pinta island tortoise. But scientists have tried to breed him with other female tortoises but nothing gives.

They tried several times with different tortoises but Lonesome George is a very picky animal.

Ecuadorian officials are keeping their fingers crossed for Lonesome George. He is aged between 90 and 100 and is described by the Guinness book of world records as the "rarest living creature."

Another male tortoise by the name of Tony, who currently resides in a Prague zoo, has recently been discovered as most likely being an additional pure breed, native, Pinta tortoise. Believed to be born around 1960, Tony has been housed in the zoo since 1972. Peter Pritchard, one of the world’s foremost authorities on Galapagos tortoises (and of tortoises and turtles of the world more generally), has found the shell on Tony to be extremely similar to that of George and Pinta museum specimens. Research is still currently being processed to confirm this match and Tony is still being held at the Prague zoo.

Charles Darwin, visiting the islands in 1835, saw that the tortoises on each island were different although they had obviously descended from a common stock which was now extinct on the mainland. This observation formed part of his world-changing Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection.

Thirty nine tortoises were recently brought to Pinta Island, the northernmost of the main islands of the Galapagos, in hopes of helping the area's ecosystem reshape. Fingers crossed.

answered by Ashton | 06-26-2010 at 11:49 PM

Re: Why can't they just clone him?
Well, the answer is pretty simple. George only has one set of genetic blueprints. Even if they could extract his DNA and clone it, put it in an embryo, George has only one possible combination of all of his genes. If a virus or pathogen that he wasn't resistant to came along, it would not only wipe out him, but all his cloned offspring as well. Plus, cloning of larger animals is never simple or cheap, look how much effort was put into cloning Dahli the sheep, and she only lived half the lifespan of a regular sheep, after several failed attempts produced no live offspring at all. Also, cloned animals, like Dolly (and presumably George) rarely if ever produce viable offspring, so it would be at best a one generational fix.

answered by Geneticist to the rescue | 02-02-2011 at 01:03 AM

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