19th century engraving of Galapagos tortoises.

19th century engraving of Galapagos tortoises.

Z755/0001

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Caption

Giant Galapagos tortoises. 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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