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[Off topic:] Darwin’s tortoise dies

Darwin’s tortoise dies
http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/darwins-tortoise-aged-176-dies/2006/06/23/1150845377114.html

Father time has finally caught up with the world’s oldest animal in
captivity.

Giant Galapagos tortoise Harriet has died of a suspected heart attack at the
ripe old age of 176 on the Sunshine Coast.

She was a star attraction at Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo since the 1980s and
even features in the Guinness Book of Records for her longevity.

Her history is as colourful as the hibiscus flowers she lovingly munched on.

It is believed Harriet was one of three animals naturalist Charles Darwin
brought back from his trip to the Galapagos Islands in 1835 and which led to
his theories of evolution and natural selection.

A few years later, Sir Charles gave them to a Brisbane-bound friend.

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2 Responses to [Off topic:] Darwin’s tortoise dies

  1. Is this an omen for an idea of a similar age that protects itself with a very thick shell?

  2. Here is a recent article which casts doubt on Harriet having been Darwin’s:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opi.....dl2403.xml Daily Telegraph The origin of myth (Filed: 24/06/2006) Harriet the tortoise, who has died aged 176, was thought to have belonged to Charles Darwin, and may have been the world’s oldest animal. She was around not only when Queen Victoria died, but when she was crowned. The Industrial Revolution, electricity, men on the Moon, England winning the World Cup – all the high points of the past two centuries took place in her lifetime. One great change has been the wide acceptance of Darwin’s theories, which now underpins work by biologists, sociologists, historians and psychologists. Some, like Richard Dawkins, see The Origin of Species as a kind of replacement Bible; others think that Darwin helped illuminate aspects of God’s creation. But his work, and the science that followed, still brings new surprises. DNA tests now suggest that Harriet came from an island Darwin never visited.

    However, much as I like debunking Darwinian myths, if “Harriet came from a [Galapagos]island Darwin never visited,” that would not rule her out as having been collected by Darwin. She could have swum to an island that Darwin visited, or someone could have collected her from an island Darwin did not visit and given it to him.

    Stephen E. Jones
    http://creationevolutiondesign.blogspot.com/

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