New type of tortoise discovered by DNA

The Ecuadorian Ministry of Environment said Thursday that a DNA study has revealed that the giant turtles that live on the island of San Cristobal in Galapagos are compatible with a new species that has not yet been scientifically documented.

“The giant tortoise species that inhabits the island of San Cristobal, so far scientifically known as Chelonoidis chathamensis, is compatible with a genetically distinct species,” the ministry said on Twitter.

Researchers at the University of Newcastle, Yale University, the American NGO Galapagos Conservancy, and other organizations have discovered the genetic material of turtles now 557 km long on the island of San Cristobal, and the California Academy of Sciences in 1906 by the scientist at the California Academy of Sciences. In the mountains of the island.

During the interpretation of Chelonoidis chathamensis, the team that collected the bones from the cave did not reach the lowlands northeast of San Cristobal where the turtles live today.

As a result, “scientists have concluded that the nearly 8,000 turtles found in San Cristobal today are not Chelonoidis chathamensis, but may be entirely identical to the new generation,” the Environment Ministry said in a statement.

The Galapagos Conservancy added in a bulletin that the Chelonoidis chathamensis group from the San Cristobal Highlands were “definitely extinct” and that there were not one but two different species of turtles on the island, one in the mountains and the other in the lowlands.

The study, published in the scientific journal Heritage, will continue to retrieve more DNA from bones and shells to determine if living San Cristobal turtles should be given a new name.

San Cristobal may have been separated by the sea millions of years ago, and each region had its own Celonian species. But when the water level dropped, the two islands merged, and their turtles merged.

Galapagos, a World Heritage Site with unique flora and fauna in the world, should give their name to the giant turtles. According to the Galapagos National Park (PNG), the archipelago was home to the first 15 species of giant Selonian species, three of which became extinct centuries ago.

In 2019, a specimen of Selenoidis fantastica on the island of Fernandina was considered extinct after 100 years.


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