[Taxacom] Galapagos tortoise bedtime story

John Grehan calabar.john at gmail.com
Sun Jul 7 12:06:31 CDT 2019

Here's another for those who believe in such things. Caccone et al 1999
found that the sister group to the Galapagos tortoise is Chelonoidis
chilensis. This species is distributed east of the Andes mostly in
Argentina (north of the Patagonia) and Bolivia. The only tortoise in the
genus that is on the Pacific Coast is C. carbonarius (Panama). Caccone et
al attribute the origin of the Galapagos tortoise to the Humboldt current,
but left out the more difficult question of how the tortoises found large
enough rafts (if such things could be produced in the scrublands or dry
forest habitats) that would remain stable enough to navigate around the tip
of South America, presumably via the Strait of Magellan, and AGAINST the
Cape Horn and Circumpolar Currents. Its wonder they didn't end up in South
Africa. Believe it or not.

John Grehan

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