Skip to comments.'Darwin's Tortoise' Takes Her Secrets to the Grave at the Age of 176
Posted on 06/23/2006 5:38:18 PM PDT by blam
'Darwin's tortoise' takes her secrets to the grave at the age of 176
By Mark Chipperfield in Sydney
Harriet, a 23st Galapagos tortoise, has died in a Queensland wildlife park at the age of 176, carrying to her grave the mystery of her origins.
John Hangar, a senior veterinarian at the Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast, said the reptile suffered a heart attack on Thursday.
"Harriet sadly died last night after, thankfully, a very short illness," he said. "She had a heart attack and passed away quietly overnight."
Harriet made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's oldest living animal but was more controversially credited with helping Charles Darwin to pioneer his theory of evolution.
"It's thought she may have been taken off Galapagos by Darwin," said Mr Hangar. "She spent a period of time in Britain and found herself at the Botanic Gardens in Brisbane from about 1850 or 1860 onwards."
Recent DNA testing has cast doubt over the widely believed story that Harriet was one of several tortoises removed from the South American islands during Darwin's voyage in 1835. The tortoise appears to belong to a sub-species of tortoise found on an island that the scientist never visited.
For his part, Steve Irwin, who owns Australia Zoo, was happy to let Harriet's background remain in dispute, claiming only that the giant tortoise was the world's oldest living chelonian. "She is possibly one of the oldest living creatures on the planet and her passing today is a great loss for the world," he said.
Harriet had been rivalled for age by an Aldabra tortoise in Calcutta that supposedly belonged to Clive of India and which died recently at the supposed age of 255.
I think that means 23 STONEs, which is 322 pounds.
Harriet At Her 175th Birthday Party
"She is possibly one of the oldest living creatures on the planet and her passing today is a great loss for the world," he said.
Post Helen Thomas picture here.
Helen had been rivalled for age by an Aldabra tortoise in Calcutta that supposedly belonged to Clive of India and which died recently at the supposed age of 255.
facinating critters! Is there a "C.D." carved on the shell?
I wonder what tortoises think about things.
For that matter, I wonder what very, very old people think about things?
I remember seeing Eubie Blake play ragtime when he was almost 100 -- that was amazing.
That turle has been damned! Damned I tell you! Hope it enjoys turtle Hell! /sarcasm
Fortunately she will still be able to vote in the Cook County Democrat Primary.
You bet your sweet donkey she can.
neat story thanks for the post
Daley does pander to the turtle vote. Too bad the old girl croaked. She could take over for Stroger and I bet she would have won a foot race.
Writing their memoirs. "Once, I was a real turtle...."
Hey its a big mega bowl of turtle soup! Pass the salt an lets eat.