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National Public Radio, July 25, 2009

Last Galapagos Tortoise May Become Oldest Dad
By Scott Simon

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It's a bit early to break out cigars, but Lonesome George, the last known Galapagos giant tortoise, may soon become a father.

Lonesome George is the only known living Geochelone abigdoni tortoise in the world. He is estimated to be between 90 and 100 years old. Scientists say that's actually the sexual peak for giant tortoises. They can live to be 150.

Lonesome George resides in Galapagos National Park. Because he is, in the description of the Guinness Book of World Records, "the rarest living creature," he is a difficult guy to find a mate for.

Scientists have been playing Match.com for Lonesome George since 1993 and have put two females of different subspecies into his pen. But I guess he preferred to watch ESPN.

Lonesome George aroused scientists almost as much as himself last year by mating for the first time during the 36 years he's been in captivity. But the eggs of his partner turned out to be infertile.

The park says that Lonesome George has recently awarded his seal of approval, if you please, to the eggs of another partner, and the result is being cared for in an incubator. Scientists will know if there will be a little Not-As-Lonesome-George-or-Georgia within 120 days. If so, that would make Lonesome George the oldest natural father on record.

Another record for Tom Watson to shoot for.

Copyright 2009 NPR

Photo © Paul S. Hamilton