A giant tortoise that was thought to be extinct a century ago has now been discovered very alive – in Ecuador.
The giant female turtle was found two years ago on the island of Fernandina, which is part of the western region of Ecuador in the Galapagos Islands.
But only now has the massive reptile been identified as a species believed to be extinct more than 100 years ago.
The female turtle is believed to be more than 100 years old and is currently kept at a breeding center on Santa Cruz Island.
The Galapagos National Park is now preparing an expedition to see if more species can be found and to keep them from becoming critically endangered.
The National Park and Galapagos Conservancy are those where the turtle of a species identified by Yale University as Chelonoidis phantasticus is found.
“Yale University revealed the results of genetic studies and the respective DNA comparison that was performed on a sample extracted in 1906,” Galapagos Park said in a statement.
It is believed that the last sighting of the species occurred in 1906. the BBC reports.
According to reports, samples from the female were compared to the remains of a male before it could be confirmed that they actually came from the same family.
In the Galapagos Islands, which served as the basis for the theory of species evolution by the British scientist Charles Darwin in the 19th century, many species of turtles live together with flamingos, boobies, albatrosses and cormorants, a family of species of waterfowl.
It is also home to a large amount of flora and fauna that are critically endangered.
“It was considered extinct more than 100 years ago! We have confirmed its existence again,” wrote Environment Minister Gustavo Manrique on his Twitter account.
The current population of giant tortoises of various species is estimated at 60,000, according to the Galapagos National Park.
One was known as “Lonesome George,” a male Pinta Island turtle, the last known of the species, which died in 2012 without leaving any offspring.
Scientists believe that turtles arrived in the Galapagos Islands two to three million years ago after being on vegetation rafts or on their own 600 miles from the South American coast.
They were already large reptiles before arriving on the islands.
Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos Islands on his second voyage for five weeks and they appeared in his writings and played a key role in the development of the theory of evolution.