The Longest Game of Hide and Seek Ever
January 9, 2012 12:41 PM   Subscribe

Extinct Galapagos tortoise may just be hiding

"For whalers and pirates, the slow-moving animals weighing up to 900 pounds were like walking grocery stores. Their flesh was tasty and rich in oil. They could survive for months, even years, without eating or drinking, and sailors stored tortoises alive in the hulls of their ships for future consumption...

If a ship was under siege, sailors would unload it by throwing things overboard,” said Garrick. “The first thing to go was stuff stored in the hull. Tortoises don’t swim, but they float like wine corks, and it so happens that the prevailing current runs northeast through the islands. The last place a tortoise might catch land before being swept into the ocean was the northern part of Isabela island. This is where they would have washed up."
posted by quin (32 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
Could you blame it?
posted by Afroblanco at 12:44 PM on January 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


I demand to watch a Brad Bird cartoon about exactly this scenario.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:46 PM on January 9, 2012 [12 favorites]


By the title, I thought for sure this was an Onion article.
posted by the dief at 12:53 PM on January 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


Probably pining for the fjords.
posted by onlyconnect at 12:53 PM on January 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


Some sort of shell game, I presume.
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:55 PM on January 9, 2012 [14 favorites]


I'm calling Galapagos tortoise as next culinary fad right... now.
posted by nathancaswell at 12:55 PM on January 9, 2012


Is it wrong that this article makes me hungry?
posted by goethean at 12:56 PM on January 9, 2012


Unfortunately what really killed off the tortoises was the introduction of goats to the islands -- they eat the same food but much more aggressively.

Still, nice to hear that some Floreanas may be running around.

(I'm pretty sure George would prefer they would get off their duffs and find some Pinta females)
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:56 PM on January 9, 2012


I'M A GALAPAGOS
posted by functionequalsform at 12:58 PM on January 9, 2012


Is it these tortoises they're talking about?
posted by kmz at 12:58 PM on January 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


"Drizzle, Drazzle, Drozzle, Drome, Time for this one to come home"
posted by DaddyNewt at 1:00 PM on January 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


Open the gun ports, Mr. Smee. Lower the mainsail, eject the tortoises and prepare for action!

The first sentence in the FPP sounds like a headline from the Onion. So glad it's actually real.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:00 PM on January 9, 2012


This sounds like an animal that exists in a Terry Pratchett book. Probably on Fourecks.
posted by Polyhymnia at 1:02 PM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's great to see the researchers stick their necks out like this.
posted by argonauta at 1:03 PM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


We don't even care whether or not we care.
posted by ninjew at 1:04 PM on January 9, 2012


Wait, did you see that its scientific name is Chelonoidis elephantopus? Definitely a Pratchett beast.
posted by Polyhymnia at 1:04 PM on January 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Has anybody looked closely at one of these guys to see if there's four elephants riding on the back of one of them with a strange flat disk on top of the elephants?
posted by kmz at 1:08 PM on January 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


No, but we looked underneath one and there weren't any more tortoises there.
posted by etc. at 1:36 PM on January 9, 2012 [9 favorites]


I demand to watch a Brad Bird cartoon about exactly this scenario.

In the direction Byrd's politics have been headed, it would involve evil altruists trying to take away his Reardon-metal shell to give it to poor iguanas so they could be tortoises, too. Also, he learns he can't trust any of his friends or colleagues, and that the biological family is the only social structure you should rely on, but only if you can contribute meaningfully.

(I mean, it's immoral for the starving to steal a bite of bread? In Paris? For real? It's a wonder Victor Hugo hasn't erupted right out of his grave.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 1:37 PM on January 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm so glad this isn't an Onion headline.
posted by Catblack at 1:48 PM on January 9, 2012


Did someone wang it into the sea?
posted by fullerine at 2:05 PM on January 9, 2012


Pirates. Is there no end to the nonesense they'll stir up?
posted by Phreesh at 2:24 PM on January 9, 2012


Look, all I'm saying is that Galapagos tortoises are vicious beady eyed little bastards.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 3:37 PM on January 9, 2012


After much thought and deliberation, I've come to the conclusion that I don't need the definitive Brad Bird version of this tale; I'd be perfectly happy with a shakycam Paul Greengrass version where the hero tortoise, on jumping out into the water after a riveting three-movie chase sequence, stays underwater for a bit to convince the baddies and neutrals that he's dead, only slips away quietly to a safe refuge to some electronic rock OST.

(Or if Hollywood doesn't do this into a movie, I will most certainly spin it into a yarn for my four year old niece and nephew)

Also, yetis exist. Yeah.
posted by the cydonian at 4:33 PM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Like so many, they might grow into beady eyed bastards but they sure are cute as babies.
posted by jamaro at 5:17 PM on January 9, 2012




Like so many, they might grow into beady eyed bastards but they sure are cute as babies.

Don't let looks deceive you. The Darwin Research Center stencils their inmate ID numbers on them right up front to save time.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 5:50 PM on January 9, 2012


African Sulcata Tortoise Hatchlings Pose For Family Portrait

Will no one stop the blinking in those ads! Please, for the love of all that is good, stop the blinking!
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:56 PM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's turtles all the way down.
posted by zomg at 7:49 PM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is what I tell people when the subject of the Ivory Billed Woodpecker comes up - "it's not extinct! It's hiding in the Galapagos!"
posted by Biblio at 7:52 PM on January 9, 2012


It's Discworld all the way up.
posted by arcticseal at 11:29 PM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Aye, sea turtles.
posted by mikepop at 11:03 AM on January 10, 2012


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