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View Full Version : 'Darwin's tortoise' dies, age 176



pedro
06-24-2006, 02:24 PM
http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/asiapcf/06/24/tortoise.die.ap/index.html

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- A 176-year-old tortoise, believed by some to have been owned by Charles Darwin, has died in an Australian zoo.

The giant tortoise, known as Harriet, was long reputed to have been one of three tortoises taken from the Galapagos Islands by Darwin on his historic 1835 voyage aboard the HMS Beagle.

However, historical records, while suggestive, don't prove the claim, and some scientists have cast doubt on the story, with DNA tests confirming Harriet's age but showing she came from an island that Darwin never visited.

According to local legend, Harriet was just five years old and probably no bigger than a dinner plate when she was taken from the Galapagos to Britain.

She spent a few years in Britain before being moved to the Brisbane Botanic Gardens in Australia's tropical Queensland state in the mid-1800s, where she was mistaken for a male and nicknamed Harry, according to Australia Zoo, which later bought the 150-kilogram (330-pound) tortoise.

The Queensland-based zoo is owned by "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin and his wife Terri.

"Harriet sadly died last night after, thankfully, a very short illness," senior veterinarian Jon Hanger told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Friday.

"She'd been sick yesterday with, in effect, heart failure. She had a very fairly acute heart attack and thankfully passed away quietly overnight," Hangar said.

Irwin said he considered Harriet a member of the family.

"Harriet has been a huge chunk of the Irwin family's life," Irwin said Saturday.

"She is possibly one of the oldest living creatures on the planet and her passing today is not only a great loss for the world but a very sad day for my family. She was a grand old lady."

Harriet was believed to be the world's oldest living tortoise, and one of its oldest living creatures. Despite her longevity, however, Harriet is not the world's oldest known tortoise.

That title was awarded by the Guinness Book of World Records to Tui Malila, a Madagascar radiated tortoise that was presented to the royal family of Tonga by British explorer Captain James Cook in the 1770s. It died in 1965 at the ripe age of 188.

Scientist Paul Chambers cast doubt on Harriet's Darwin connection in an article in the New Scientist magazine and a book, "The Unexpected History of the Giant Tortoise."

pedro
06-24-2006, 02:35 PM
It's amazing to me that something can live that long.

Anyone else know what other animals have really long life spans?

(besides Julio Franco)

westofyou
06-24-2006, 02:41 PM
MAMMALS YEARS
Elephant 69
Horse 50
Hippopotamus 49
Chimpanzee 40
Grizzly Bear 32
Bison 30
Lion 30
Tiger 25
Elk 22
Mountain Lion 20
Beaver 19
Wolf 16
Squirrel 16
Chipmunk 12
Cottontail 10
House Mouse 4

BIRDS YEARS
Turkey Buzzard 118
Swan 102
Parrot 80
Great Horned Owl 68
Eagle 55
English Sparrow 23
Canary 22
Humming Bird 8

REPTILES YEARS
Giant Tortoise 152
Box Turtle 123
Alligator 68
Snapping Turtle 57
Cobra 28
Cottonmouth 21

AMPHIBIANS YEARS
Giant Salamander 55
Toad 36
Bullfrog 30
Mud Puppy 23
Green Frog 10
Newt 7

FISH YEARS
Catfish 60
Eel 55
Carp 47
Mosquitofish 2

INSECTS YEARS
Cicada 17
Ant (queen) 15

RBA
06-24-2006, 03:06 PM
It's amazing to me that something can live that long.

Anyone else know what other animals have really long life spans?

(besides Julio Franco)


People in the Old Testament?

saboforthird
06-24-2006, 08:25 PM
It's amazing to me that something can live that long.

Anyone else know what other animals have really long life spans?

(besides Julio Franco)

Marge Schott comes to mind.

I would say any member of the reptile family, or descendant of the dinosaurs.

saboforthird
06-24-2006, 08:26 PM
People in the Old Testament?

Yeah, they lived 900 years. Uh huh. :laugh:

oneupper
06-24-2006, 10:39 PM
It's amazing to me that something can live that long.

Anyone else know what other animals have really long life spans?

(besides Julio Franco)


I think no one really knows how long a Great White Shark lives...legend is that they are immortal.

pedro
06-24-2006, 10:40 PM
I think I may have caused the premature death of a box turtle or two. Oops.

GAC
06-25-2006, 07:27 AM
Squished a nice size frog in the driveway yesterday with the van.

I think it was a desperate act of frog euthanasia. ;)

max venable
06-25-2006, 10:23 AM
"She is possibly one of the oldest living creatures on the planet and her passing today is not only a great loss for the world..." I know I'll never be the same now.

savafan
06-25-2006, 11:43 AM
How can a DNA test show what island she came from?

westofyou
06-25-2006, 12:02 PM
How can a DNA test show what island she came from?
Because they are indiginous to said island.