When the Galápagos tortoise Lonesome George died at the Charles Darwin Research Station earlier this year, it was thought that his subspecies had gone extinct. Researchers at the Darwin Station had hoped Lonesome George would breed with tortoises from neighboring islands, but he died never having sired progeny in captivity. He was the last of his line.
But a new study conducted by Yale University researchers has found that tortoises living in the wild near Wolf Volcano share much of the same DNA as George. And they agree that it’s possible more of his kind could still be living in the wild. A survey of 1,667 wild tortoises identified 17 descendants of the same ancestors of George. Of the 17, five were juveniles suggesting that a purebred tortoise, the same as George, may still live on the island. If one does exist, it wouldn’t be the first time this subspecies has made a startling appearance.
George’s subspecies, Chelonoidis nigra abingdoni, was wiped out by human settlers in the early 1900s and declared extinct—until a George was discovered in 1972.
If you’re a regular viewer of Jeopardy!, odds are you’ve seen a clue or two shot aboard a ship in the Lindblad-National Geographic fleet. We’re expedition travel partners of the Jeopardy! Clue Crew and they travel the world with us, from fascinating global cultural sites to cosmopolitan urban jungles to the most remote corners of the globe.
In other Jeopardy! news, starting today, you’re invited to test your knowledge on our new interactive map on Facebook. Challenge yourself and see video clues shot on location with the Clue Crew in Galápagos, Costa Rica & Panama, Antarctica and more!
The host of the PBS travel series Music Voyager and founder of the record label Cumbancha, Jacob Edgar was profiled in the latest Afar magazine. Jacob travels the globe, seeking out unique, moving music to sign to his label and share with the world. Last year he traveled up the entire coast of West Africa with us aboard National Geographic Explorer, visiting the dazzling markets of the coastal cities always on the hunt for the new, intriguing music. Our video chronicler joined him as he visited the market in Dakar to see what locals were listening to, buying, and selling.
And next year, Jacob will join us again aboard National Geographic Explorer lending his unique expertise to our guests on two epic voyages: Exploring Africa’s West Coast in March, and again on our Epic South America expedition in September 2013.
A year ago NASA researches flying over Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier noticed a massive rift in the ice running for 18 miles across part of the glacier’s floating tongue. On a more recent flyover, they’ve recorded a second rift and noted that the original open further. When the rift finally reaches all the way across the ice, the glacier will calve and fall into the sea creating an enormous iceberg in Pine Island Bay. In the past, large icebergs have calved off Pine Island Glacier, but this will be the largest in decades and will leave the front of the glacier farther back than any other time in the recent past.
Google Maps Street View has long allowed users to zoom down to street-level to see close-ups of city storefronts and suburban homes. The images are shot by car-mounted cameras that Google employees have driven over millions of miles of roads across the U.S. Together with The Catlin Seaview Survey, Google developed an undersea Street View camera capable of offering an intimate look at these ecosystems—as if one’s swimming above and among them while snorkeling or Scuba diving.
While this is the first time undersea images have been made available on Google Maps, it’s not the first time Google has let us glimpse beneath the sea. A couple years ago they added an Ocean layer to Google Earth. That project was spearheaded by National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Sylvia Earle, and created using many photos and videos from Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic.
Google Maps ‘Reef View’ offers an easy way for armchair adventurers to explore the planet’s beautiful, remote places. And hopefully as more people see these delicate reefs, more of them will advocate for their preservation and protection.
The southern glaciers of Greenland are a bellwether. Just two years ago another colossal berg broke free from the same glacier, and scientists say that in data collected over 150 years they’ve never seen anything like it.
The staff at the Galápagos National Park has announced that the tortoise Lonesome George has died. George had become an emblem of the Galápagos Islands and a symbol of wildlife conservation worldwide. He was the last known survivor of Pinta Island in Galápagos, and his passing marks the extinction of the subspecies. In the decades we’ve been sharing the wonder of Galápagos with our guests, thousands of them have seen and photographed George on Santa Cruz Island, learning of his plight. His death is a sad day for our staff, especially those who have worked in Galápagos for years. The important work and tremendous successes of the Galápagos National Park Service in repopulating other islands continues.
Find out why Baja California & the Sea of Cortez need to go on your must-visit list during our free webinar on Wednesday, June 27 at 7pm ET. Register here—it’s free!
Join National Geographic photographer Ralph Lee Hopkins, and naturalist Alberto Montaudon, and learn all about the place Jacques Cousteau called a “living aquarium.” Its islands are designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, home to an impressive variety of marine mammals and birds. Our 30 years of experience exploring this “best-kept-secret” region guarantees you intoxicating encounters-leaping dolphins, gray whale mothers nurturing their calves, seabirds en masse, and snorkeling with sea lions.
It may sound like a startling discovery, but it turns out that researches have known since 1914 that the mysterious moai sculptures on Easter Island rest on torsos. Many of the heads are buried up to their necks—especially in many iconic photos of the island—so a common misconception is that the statues are only gigantic heads. More recent excavations have shown the underground many of moai torsos are carved with petroglyphs.