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Re: natatory Geochelone

At 11:53 AM 02/07/2000 +0200, Juergen Peters wrote:
> In the case of the Galapagos tortise, this makes sense to me. Being cold
> blooded, these animals would not need to eat for a long period of time,
> and could therefor endure long ocean voyages.

But most probably they did not reach the Galapagos Islands by swimming,
as someone mentioned here, but as juveniles on drift-wood etc.

Actually, according to tortoise experts I have talked to about this, there is every chance that they DID get there by swimming. It seems that the tortoises on the Indian Ocean islands at least (and I suspect the Galapagos is a similar case) are not cases of insular gigantism but relicts of giant tortoise populations on the mainland; if juveniles were the colonizers you might expect some smaller tortoise species to be established there as well. I have been given eyewitness accounts, for example, of Aldabra Tortoises swimming out to sea; the adults are quite capable of this, and may well be able to withstand long fasts better than juveniles.

Ronald I. Orenstein Phone: (905) 820-7886
International Wildlife Coalition Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116
1825 Shady Creek Court
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5L 3W2 mailto:ornstn@home.com