Tuesday, November 15, 2005

She's a real old-timer

This is really cool:

A zoo in Australia has held a 175th birthday party for one of the world's oldest known living creatures, a Giant Galapagos tortoise. Australia Zoo, where the tortoise has lived for the last 17 years, marked the day with a pink hibiscus flower cake.

Although the animal's exact date of birth is not known, DNA testing has indicated its approximate age. Some people believe the tortoise, known as Harriet, was studied by British naturalist Charles Darwin. Darwin took several young Giant Galapagos tortoises back to London after his epic voyage on board HMS Beagle. DNA testing has suggested the giant creature was born around 1830, a few years before Darwin visited the Galapagos archipelago in 1835. However, Harriet belongs to a sub-species of tortoise only found on an island that Darwin never visited.

Can you believe this creature was born while Andrew Jackson was President of the United States and almost a decade before Queen Victoria ascended the British throne? All I can say is: a very happy birthday!

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