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Darwin, The Galapagos and Giant Tortoises

The Times reported on a remarkable story in December about a giant tortoise whose age was determined to be 178!  Jonathan the tortoise was pictured in an ancient black and white photo on St Helena in 1900, in the company of a prisoner of the Boer War. Curious that the photographer noted Jonathan’s name down and not that of the prisoner! (Read the snippet here).

Photo: Xoque/Flickr

Photo: Xoque/Flickr

It is a bit tricky to age these remarkable animals as they easily outlive us by happily munching grass through up to 8 or 9 human generations.

Thanks to Ole Bergmann on www.flickr.com

Meeting giant tortoises in the wild is unforgettable, and you can do so on our holiday Cruising the Galapagos. When we visited there was an enormous specimen the size of a coffee table enjoying a siesta in the shade of a daisy tree. In fact, the Galapagos Islands off the Ecuador coast were so named because the Spanish for tortoise is ‘Galapago’. You can learn more about the islands, their amazing history and their flora and fauna on the website of the Galapagos Conservation Trust.

Photo: Derek Keats/Flickr

Photo: Derek Keats/Flickr

2009 is the 150th anniversary of the publication of ‘On the Origin of Species’ (24 November 1859) and the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth (12 February 1809), so there is no better time to visit the islands that provided so much amazing evidence for his evolutionary theory.

To take our spectacular week-long trip on the Santa Cruz call Steve Murray direct on 01606 720 046 or for more information click here.

Curious facts and quotes

C16 Spanish explorers used giant tortoises from the Galapagos as a source of meat, as they survived a long time while on board before they were eaten.

Boobys spear fish by diving into the ocean at speeds up to 50km/h!
So they don’t end up with a headache, thay have developed an inflatable air compartment in their skull to cushion the impact of hitting the water.

“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science”.
Charles Darwin