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Is she out there? Girlfriend wanted for 80-year-old

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  • Is she out there? Girlfriend wanted for 80-year-old


    Lonesome George, conservation icon of the Galápagos islands, celibate pensioner and officially the rarest living creature on Earth, may soon have a playmate, raising hopes he may father young and so save his species from imminent extinction. The 80-year-old giant tortoise was discovered in 1972 among the foliage of Pinta island in the archipelago. He has since been cared for as the sole survivor of his species, Geochelone abingdoni, and become a stark symbol of Earth's rapidly declining biodiversity.

    Despite heroic efforts from his carers, from engineered trysts with females of similar species to attempts at "digital manipulation" to gather his sperm, George has so far failed to produce any off spring, leading scientists to fear his death will spell the end for his unique lineage.

    But researchers say there is renewed hope for George and his kind. A genetic survey of giant tortoises on Isabela island, the largest of the Galapágos, has revealed proof that another of George's species was, and may still be, breeding on the island.

    A team led by Jeffrey Powell, an evolutionary biologist at Yale University, took blood samples from 27 giant tortoises living on the western side of a volcano on Isabela's northern tip. Among them, they found one male, aged around 30, who is a cross between a native species and a Pinta island male just like George. The discovery means that in the recent past, a Pinta male was breeding on the island. "If that's the case, it is possible there are other Pinta individuals out there, maybe even a female," said Professor Powell, whose study was published yesterday in Current Biology.

    The researchers intend to return to the island and take blood samples from more than 2,000 giant tortoises. If they find a Pinta female, they hope to take her to George's enclosure at the Charles Darwin research station on Santa Cruz island and attempt to breed the pair. The researchers concede the chances of finding a pure Pinta female are slim, but even if they are unable to, they could start a selective breeding programme using a female sibling of the 30-year-old male already discovered. By mating subsequent off spring with George, the scientists would slowly be able to make them more and more like the Pinta species.

    Henry Nicholls, an evolutionary biologist and author of Lonesome George, a book about the animal, said: "I can't think of a better conservation achievement than managing to resurrect a population when you thought you only had one left."


  • #2
    It's all probably too late

    Comment


    • #3
      LOL!! (at Lonesome George article) aaaawwwww poor George!
      It seems as if one fails to conceive
      The meaning my name strives to achieve

      To a biological form you cannot relate-
      Because a reproductive cell is a gamete not gamate!

      It means to unite, -to become consolidated
      So without me in a.com, is there hope we'd be amalgamated?

      Comment


      • #4
        DNA search gives hope to tortoise



        The giant Galapagos tortoise that became a conservation icon when it appeared he was the last of his kind is not so alone after all.

        "Lonesome George" was thought to be the only survivor of a tortoise species native to the isle of Pinta.

        Now, the journal Current Biology reports the discovery of a hybrid - the offspring from the union of a Pinta tortoise and another island species.

        The "new" animal thus shares about half its genes in common with George.

        Unfortunately for efforts to get George to reproduce, this hybrid tortoise, recently found on Isabela isle, is also a male.

        Nonetheless, its discovery in a relatively small sample of tortoises raises fresh hope for the future of George's species ( Geochelone abingdoni ).

        A more thorough sampling of the 2,000 tortoises living on Isabela could yet reveal a genetically pure Pinta tortoise, say the researchers.

        Population revival?

        But even if they did find one, getting George to mate with it could be an uphill struggle: he has a stubborn aversion to the opposite sex.

        When George was placed in captivity at the Charles Darwin Research Station on the island of Santa Cruz, he was housed with two female tortoises from a species taken from Isabela.

        After 35 years, he has failed to produce any offspring; though, admittedly, none of these tortoises has belonged to George's species.

        Surprising find

        The researchers, led by Michael Russello from the University of British Columbia Okanagan, Canada, took DNA samples from tortoises living around Wolf Volcano on Isabela.

        Most of these tortoises are thought to belong to a distinct species called Geochelone becki .

        The scientists analysed 89 of these tortoises and compared their genetic codes with those of other Galapagos tortoises that are held in a database.

        'LONESOME GEORGE' SPECIES

        Size: 102cm across shell, 88kg in weight; not the biggest
        Age: Not known exactly, but probably 60-90 years
        Whalers and sealers destroyed the Pinta population
        Invasive species have since disturbed the natural habitat

        The database includes DNA from six G. abingdoni specimens held in museums, and Lonesome George.
        Genetic analysis revealed that one of the Isabela animals was a first-generation hybrid between native tortoises from the islands of Isabela and Pinta.

        "It's extraordinary. I, and everyone involved with George, never imagined that something like this could happen," said Henry Nicholls, who has written a biography of the octogenarian tortoise called Lonesome George: The Life and Loves of a Conservation Icon.

        "It is surprising to find a hybrid on Isabela. It raises questions about how it got there," he told the BBC News website.

        Whaling link

        According to Dr Nicholls, none of the prevailing sea currents would be capable of carrying tortoises from Pinta to Isabela.

        But, Dr Nicholls added, any project to search for a pure Pinta tortoise on Isabela, or other hybrids, would be expensive and time-consuming.

        "The continuing saga surrounding the search for a mate has positioned Lonesome George as a potent conservation icon, not just for Galapagos, but worldwide," said Dr Russello.

        Upwards of 50,000 people visit George each year at his home on the Charles Darwin Research Station.

        The collapse of the giant tortoise population on Pinta is thought to have been due in large part to whaling activities in the Pacific during the 18th and 19th Centuries.

        Sailors would preferentially take female animals to store as food on their ships - the females of the species were smaller and easier targets in lowland areas during the egg-laying season.

        By the middle of the 20th Century, only male giant tortoises were left on Pinta. George is thought to have been born in the 1920s.

        BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | DNA search gives hope to tortoise

        Comment


        • #5
          hmm, well that's a problem - i mean if he's the last of his species where's he gonna find a mate.... poor jido . he's so cute!

          why not clone him?

          Comment


          • #6
            Lonesome George^^^^^^

            ummmmm,
            I want to write some comment ,
            but it is so hard. Sorry.

            Comment


            • #7
              "The 80-year-old giant tortoise was discovered in 1972 among the foliage of Pinta island in the archipelago. He has since been cared for as the sole survivor of his species, Geochelone abingdoni, and become a stark symbol of Earth's rapidly declining biodiversity."

              now that is sad, it is good they try to save the species with other techniques.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Bent_Bladi View Post
                hmm, well that's a problem - i mean if he's the last of his species where's he gonna find a mate.... poor jido . he's so cute!

                why not clone him?
                tubshiiiinii! that is the cutest signature!! LOL mabrook, girl-

                to answer your question, cloning George involves taking one of his cells and putting it in the female's egg of the same spp and then injecting the egg back into the female to grow into baby George. unfortunately, no female, no George. unless they use a female of a similar spp, then the baby will be a hybrid. he won't be a George but a Jorgé.


                so i'm afraid cloning will not save jiddo George besides, his cells are probably too frajil to use to produce good results, the DNA of the cells is waaay too old. the new embryo could get deformities because of that. maybe some scientist could figure out a way to keep the spp surviving... desperate calls calls for desperate measures so you'll never know what they could think up next.

                salaam habib!
                It seems as if one fails to conceive
                The meaning my name strives to achieve

                To a biological form you cannot relate-
                Because a reproductive cell is a gamete not gamate!

                It means to unite, -to become consolidated
                So without me in a.com, is there hope we'd be amalgamated?

                Comment


                • #9
                  lol - yeah -- hehe, i knew that

                  but what if they make eggs out of his bone marrow? see here


                  oh, and thanks! ain't my synthesis BEAUTIFUL?!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    NAIROBI (AFP) - A baby hippopotamus that survived the tsunami waves on the Kenyan coast has formed a strong bond with a giant male century-old tortoise in an animal facility in the port city of Mombassa, officials said The hippopotamus, nicknamed Owen and weighing about 300 kilograms (650 pounds), was swept down Sabaki River into the Indian Ocean , then forced back to shorewhen tsunami waves struck the Kenyan coast of
                    December 26, before wildlife rangers rescued him.



                    "It is incredible. A-less-than-a-year-old hippo has adopted a
                    male tortoise, about a century old, and the tortoise seems to
                    be very happy with being a 'mother'," ecologist Paula Kahumbu, who is in charge of Lafarge Park , told AFP.






                    "After it was swept away and lost its mother, the hippo was traumatized.
                    It had to look for something to be a surrogate mother. Fortunately, it landed on the tortoise and established a strong bond. They swim, eat and sleep together," the ecologist added. "The hippo follows the tortoise exactly the way it followed its mother. If somebody approaches the tortoise, the hippo becomes aggressive as if protecting its biological mother," Kahumbu added.
                    It seems as if one fails to conceive
                    The meaning my name strives to achieve

                    To a biological form you cannot relate-
                    Because a reproductive cell is a gamete not gamate!

                    It means to unite, -to become consolidated
                    So without me in a.com, is there hope we'd be amalgamated?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      that's the cutest hippo EVER!! mashaAllah

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        nice, now they are made relatives

                        it sooo cute! But doesn't the hippo need other diet requirements?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          George back in the news - and it's not looking too good:


                          Lonesome George: "He has problems"

                          July 3, 2007 -- Lonesome George, the last known survivor of a species of Galapagos tortoise and one of the world's most famous bachelors, may receive a new, unkinder nickname: Hopeless George.

                          Scientists who have studied him say he appears to be impotent, or at least to have no interest in sex, so that even if a mate was found, he probably would not rise to the occasion.

                          "George may be physiologically incapable of reproducing," Linda Cayot, a science adviser for the Galapagos Conservancy and former keeper of George, told Reuters.

                          The icon of the conservation movement, who weighs 90kg, was until recently assumed to be the last member of a species of giant tortoise found on Pinta, one of the Galapagos islands off Ecuador's Pacific coast.

                          Earlier this year, however, researchers from Yale University in Connecticut said they had found a male tortoise on the island of Isabela, another Galapagos island, which was the offspring of a Pinta male and an Isabela female.

                          That raised hopes of a suitable Pinta female being found for George.

                          But Ms Cayot poured cold water on the notion that he would become a father if only he had a mate. "The search is a long shot," she said.

                          George has ignored females from a different species who share his pen at the Darwin Research Centre.

                          Even when younger, virile males were introduced, he showed no interest in emulating them.

                          "He has problems," said Sveva Grigioni, a Swiss biologist who worked with the tortoise 13 years ago. "He probably never saw a female and male of his own species reproducing."

                          Discovered in 1971 and estimated to be aged between 60 and 90, George is in his prime. In theory, he should be able to live to 200 and still reproduce.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Poor turtle, he couldnt learn how to socialize etc. with his own species lately
                            Thus forgotten how to behave. Like a human lost contact with its own world and when introduced back... it often doesn't work well. Such people do exist and behave like wild animals and prefer to stay where they came from. They are interesting subjects of study for biologists etc.

                            back to the turtle thread:
                            cloning turtles nowadays might be an option and it will not be hard to create a female too.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              the next question for them is: should we interefere with nature? if something gets extinct, it measn it's design is -unfortunately-not ok, and natural selection will take place.

                              Comment

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