VIDEO: New species of giant tortoise identified on Galapagos Islands

A new species of giant tortoise has been identified in the Galapagos Islands.

Scientists used genetic data to determine that a group of 250 of the slow-moving grazing reptiles was distinct from other tortoise species residing in the Pacific archipelago.

The newly identified species lives in a 40-square-kilometre area of Santa Cruz Island and is as different genetically from the other giant tortoise species on the island as species from other islands.

The research differentiated the new Eastern Santa Cruz tortoise, given the scientific name Chelonoidis donfaustoi, from a larger population of about 2,000 tortoises living about 6 miles away on the western part of the island that belong to the species Chelonoidis porteri.

In addition to genetic differences, the two Santa Cruz Island species also differ in the shape of their shell, with the Eastern Santa Cruz tortoise having one with a more compressed shape. The newly identified species lives in a drier part of the island.

Giant tortoises, which can reach some 225 kilograms are among the famous creatures of the Galapagos Islands closely studied by 19th century British naturalist Charles Darwin.


Lifestyle

A S the Joker would say, ‘Why so Series X?’ But the next generation of the Xbox isn’t a joke for Microsoft, who have ground to make up on Sony in the console wars. The Redmond team disappointed this generation, making early mistakes that gave Sony all the momentum.GameTech: Get ready for the new Xbox

Cork actor Eanna Hardwicke may have grown up with a Young Offenders star, but he is set to make a name for himself with a string of big roles, writes  Esther McCarthyEanna Hardwicke: Cork actor about to burst onto the big screen

Should we be putting haemorrhoid cream around our eyes? Short answer... Absolutely not.The Skin Nerd: Are celebrity skincare tips all a load of Bullocks?

Peter Dowdall reports on how Blarney Castle's famous yew has bewitched onlookers for six centuriesBewitched: Help Ireland's most popular tree get the vote in Europe

More From The Irish Examiner