A new tortoise species was found that had been living right under scientists' noses the whole time.
Scientists have discovered a new tortoise species on the famed Galapagos Islands.
In a paper published in the journal PLOS One, researchers announced the discovery of the 15th known species in Galapagos, although four of them are extinct, according to an Express.co.uk report.
The investigation was led by Gisella Caccione of Yale University. Her team found the species on Santa Cruz island on the archipelago.
It’s an important finding because it will allow for better preservation efforts of the tortoise. Scientists think there are only about 250 of them left. There are 2,000 of another species living on another part of the island for comparison.
Scientists called the new species Chelonoidis donfaustoi, naming it after Fausto Llerena, a park ranger and conservationist.
The species is different from other tortoises mainly in the appearance of its shell, which has a structure a bit different than the dome shape of most tortoises. They think the tortoise came from a different island and was introduced to Santa Cruz.
The Galapagos Islands are famous for inspiring Charles Darwin, who wrote the Origin of the Species and is considered the father of evolution. Darwin noticed the unique variations of species on the isolated island and came to the conclusion that these creatures evolved over time to adapt to their surroundings, providing the common framework for evolution we know today.
The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago of volcanic islands that are situated on the equator west of Ecuador in South America. The islands have a large number of endemic species, which is what made the islands so perfect for Darwin to study his theory of evolution. It was his observations on these islands that led to the development of his theory of evolution and natural selection.
Yale University published a news release on its website describing the finding, which can be found here.