19th century engraving of Galapagos tortoises.

19th century engraving of Galapagos tortoises.

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Credit: GEORGE BERNARD/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Giant Galapagos tortoises. 1896 engraving of giant Galapagos tortoises. These are Blackish tortoises, Testudo nigrita, a species of giant tortoise from the Galapagos Islands, a group of 15 islands in the Pacific. These animals used to be present in unimaginable numbers; however pirates and whalers slaughtered them for meat and human settlers brought rats, dogs and feral pigs which wiped them out on many islands. The unique fauna of these islands, including iguanas, penguins and finches as well as the giant tortoises, inspired Charles Darwin to formulate the principle of evolution by natural selection.

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Keywords: animal, blackish tortoise, engraving, evolutionary biology, galapagos, galapagos tortoise, giant galapagos tortoise, giant tortois, maldive islands, nature, reptile, reptilia, slow, testudo nigrita, tortoise, turtle, type, wildlife, zoology

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