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Lonesome George's eggs infertile again

08/03/2010 12:23:44

Lonesome George egg - Once again infertile. Credit Galapagos Conservation Trust.

Courtesy of the Galapagos Conservation Trust

March 2010. The incubation period for the eggs from the first nest found this year in Lonesome George's corral is over, producing sad results for the scientific world. Earlier this year, Female #107, a giant tortoise who shares a corral with Lonesome George, laid five eggs. Following the 120-day incubation period, all of these eggs were shown to be infertile, with no indication of embryo formation.

The five eggs were placed in incubators at the Captive Breeding Center of the Galapagos National Park Service at 29.5o C, which is the ideal temperature to develop female offspring. Lonesome George, the last known Pinta tortoise (Geochelone abingdoni), is cared for by Park rangers in a corral at the Captive Breeding Center, along with two female tortoises brought from Wolf Volcano on Isabela Island.

The six eggs from the second nest found this year are still undergoing the incubation period. However, periodic monitoring has detected that they are becoming lighter, which is probably an indication that they are also infertile. Nevertheless, it will be necessary to wait for the completion of the entire 120-day incubation period for definitive results.

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