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Giant tortoise Lonesome George ‘wasn’t lonely after all’

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When Lonesome George, the last Pinta Island giant tortoise, died in June in the Galapagos, the world mourned the demise of a species. It appears, however, that George was not that lonely after all.

There are at least 17 tortoises on the Galapagos Islands that have similar genetic traits to George, including some that may be from his same genus, the Galapagos National Park said in a statement.

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George’s June 24 death “does not represent the end of the Chelonoidis abingdonii species of Pinta Island giant tortoises,” the statement said.

The Galapagos, located some 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) off Ecuador’s coast, is an archipelago of 13 islands and more than 100 rocks and micro-islands. The islands were uninhabited when Europeans first visited in the 16th century, and today has a population of around 25,000.

Lonesome George, who was believed to be 100 years old when he died, was discovered on Pinta Island in 1972 at a time when tortoises of his type were believed to be extinct.

Research conducted with Yale University experts “identified nine females, three males and five youths with genes of the Pinta Island giant tortoise species,” the statement read.

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Researchers analyzed more than 1,600 DNA samples taken in 2008 from tortoises living on the Wolf Volcano, on Isabella Island, to George’s DNA and samples taken from the Pinta tortoise museum.

The results means that there could be “additional hybrids on the Wolf Volcano, and even individuals on Pinta that could be pure,” the statement read.

Experts estimate there were once some 300,000 giant tortoises on the remote Pacific archipelago, but the species was decimated by whalers and pirates in the 18th and 19th century, who took them aboard their ships as fresh food and introduced new predators.

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Today there are about between 30,000 and 40,000 tortoises of 10 different species on the Galapagos.

The Pinta and Floreana island tortoise, and other hybrids, were probably taken to Isabella Island in the 18th century by sailors who threw them overboard when they no longer needed the animals as food, the statement read.

Park authorities have known since 2008 of the existence of hybrids with Pinta Island tortoise genes, but National Park biologist Washington Tapia said in June that he believed there were not enough to bring back Lonesome George’s species.

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A more complete report on the find will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Biological Conservation.

The Galapagos became famous when Charles Darwin visited in 1835 to conduct landmark research that led to his revolutionary theories on evolution.

The archipelago has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978 for the unique plant and animal life found both on its land and in the surrounding sea.

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In 2007, the organization declared the island chain’s environment endangered due to the increase in tourism and the introduction of invasive species.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Trump told his administration to check if he can stop hurricanes with a nuclear bomb

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President Donald Trump's lack of knowledge about science prompted another embarrassing moment when the U.S. president said that we should simply "nuke hurricanes" to solve the problem.

Another hurricane is headed toward Puerto Rico this week. The island is still recovering from being hit twice in 2017. Trump's solution, however, wasn't entirely thought out, however, Axios reported Sunday.

"I got it. I got it. Why don't we nuke them?" Trump said during a hurricane briefing at the White House, sources said. "They start forming off the coast of Africa, as they're moving across the Atlantic, we drop a bomb inside the eye of the hurricane, and it disrupts it. Why can't we do that?"

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2020 Election

He’s trying ‘to get under Trump’s skin’: Reporter Olivia Nuzzi outlines Joe Walsh’s impact on 2020

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Republican strategist Shermichael Singleton explained during an MSNBC panel discussion that former Rep. Joe Walsh isn't likely to peel away many voters from Trump as someone who is "Trump-light." New York Magazine reporter Olivia Nuzzi, however, thinks Walsh with have a more significant impact, whether or not he can win the primary race.

During a CNN panel discussion, Nuzzi similarly noted that Walsh's primary purpose could be to troll the president.

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Boris Johnson ‘tremendously humiliated’ Donald Trump on a global scale at G-7 meeting: CNN analyst

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United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson was one of President Donald Trump's favorite people to take over for Theresa May when she resigned this summer. But Johnson also mocked the U.S. president and humiliated him on a global scale, said New York Magazine reporter Olivia Nuzzi.

During a panel discussion on CNN Sunday, CNN's Ryan Lizza opened by saying that Johnson is in a tight spot as he's trying to negotiate Brexit while serving as an international leader to the G-7. Johnson also needs to negotiate a trade deal with Trump, but he clearly is going about it in the worst possible way.

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