The discovery of a living giant tortoise on a tropical island thought to be extinct for more than a century. The Fernandina Island Galapagos giant tortoise (Chelonoidis phantasticus, or “fantastic giant tortoise”) was once known from a single specimen, collected during a scientific expedition in 1906. That was until in 2019 a female giant tortoise named Fernanda was found on Fernandina Island. Scientists from Princeton University and Yale University extracted DNA from Fernanda, as well as the 116-year-old male sample. In a paper published today in Communications Biology, the researchers reveal that the two are Chelonoidis phantasticus tortoises and are genetically distinct from all other Galapagos giant tortoise species.
For more details, watch the following video