Giant tortoises are a recent evolutionary innovation and used to be everywhere, not just on islands. It’s impossible to age them accurately unless you know when they hatched. They are actually pretty slow. The reason why the tortoises Darwin saw in Galapagos moved so fast was probably because he was chasing them and they were running away.
Lonesome George died 10 years ago. Now there is a new contender – a tortoise called Fernanda – for the most lonesome creature on earth.
2022 marks the 10th anniversary of Lonesome George’s death, a good time to reflect on the events immediately after his passing and the enduring power of this singular tortoise.