Daily News Analysis


11th June, 2022 Environment

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Context: A giant tortoise, found alive in 2019, has been confirmed to belong a Galápagos species long believed extinct. The tortoise is the first of her species, Chelonoidis phantasticus, to be identified in more than a century.


More on the news:

  • Chelonoidis phantasticus means “fantastic giant tortoise”. Commonly called the Fernandina Island Galápagos giant tortoise, the species was so far known only from a single individual, collected in 1906.
  • The IUCN listed it as critically endangered & possibly extinct.
  • Its habitat is largely dry brush land at lower elevations, but much of that habitat has been destroyed by extensive lava flows.

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Most turtles are primarily water-dwelling reptiles

Tortoises are land-dwelling reptiles

Turtles are usually omnivores

Tortoises are primarily herbivores

Turtles generally have lighter shells on their backs

Tortoises have much heavier and robust shells

Not all turtles are Tortoises

All tortoises are turtles, as they belong to the order Testudines

Turtles usually have a shorter life span from 20-40 years

Tortoises usually have a long life from 80-150 years