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Lonesome George to become a father at 90??


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Lonesome George is not past his shell-by date! Last Galapagos tortoise may be a father aged 90


By Mail Foreign Service

Last updated at 10:30 PM on 22nd July 2009




At the age of 90, the last thing on your mind is fatherhood.

Unless, of course, you are a giant tortoise and the future of your species is at stake.


Scientists hope that Lonesome George, the last Galapagos giant tortoise, will soon become the world's oldest father.



article-0-0064CBF800000258-266_468x474.jpg Scientists hope the eggs found in Lonesome George's pen have been fertilised


The cause is helped by the fact that George is at the peak of his sexual powers.

He has two female companions of a closely related sub-species and it is hoped one of them will prove fertile.

Galapagos tortoises were among the species Charles Darwin observed to formulate his theory of evolution in the 19th century.


Scientist have been trying to get George to mate since 1993, when they introduced two female tortoises of a different subspecies into his pen.


The Galapagos National Park said the five eggs found earlier this week were 'in perfect condition' and have been placed in an incubator.


'Now we have to wait for the incubation period of 120 days to find out whether they are fertile,' it said in a statement.

Last year, 198lb (90kg) George stunned conservationists by mating for the first time in the 36 years he has been in captivity. However the eggs laid by one of his female companions turned out to be infertile.

Last year 13 eggs were laid. This year there are just five eggs.


Tortoises were hunted for their meat by sailors and fishermen to the point of extinction, while their habitat has been eaten away by goats introduced from the mainland.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1201389/Last-Galapagos-tortoise-father-age-90.html#ixzz0MTfWxSIZ

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