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Re: natatory Geochelone

In a message dated 7/2/00 5:57:35 PM, ornstn@home.com writes:

>  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 
>  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 
>  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.

The AMNH website on _Geochelone elephantopus _ at
says that:

"Throughout the 19th century, giant tortoises were valued by sailors as food 
supply. They discovered that these resilient animals could live for months 
without food or water, flipped on their backs, and stacked in the cargo hold 
of a ship."