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A giant tortoise who was thought to have been extinct for over 150 years may not actually be gone!
Researchers on the Galapagos islands, were looking at a close relative of the "extinct" Chelonoidis elephantopus and found that this relative was actually a hybrid of the two species.
So they began seriously investigating and found that 84 of tortoises showed that their parents had mated with the "extinct" tortoise.
One had done it apparently as recently as 15 years ago.
That means that the 900 pound, once thought extinct creatures could actually still be alive somewhere on the island.
Researchers estimate there could be as many as 38 "extinct" turtles, alive and well, somewhere on the island.
One of the researchers said:
"To our knowledge, this is the first report of the rediscovery of a species by way of tracking the genetic footprints left in the genomes of its hybrid offspring.
These findings breathe new life into the conservation prospects for members of this flagship group."
It's really great that the tortoise is back, but what we're really excited about are the other possibilities.
Does this open the door for dinosaurs maybe existing somewhere on an uncharted island?
Probably not, but we can dream, can't we?
[Image via WENN.]