The Galapagos tortoise known as Lonesome George may lose his ranking as the world's rarest living creature now that scientists have discovered he has a distant cousin.
George, who has stubbornly refused to mate with the female tortoises from a related subspecies placed in his pen, has been considered the last of his kind since his discovery in 1971.
His wrinkled face became a symbol of how human activity leads to extinction, and the meter-wide, 88kg tortoise has long held the Guinness Book of World Records title of "rarest living creature."
Three of the 14 species of Galapagos tortoises have become extinct because of hunting and competition for food from goats introduced in the 1950's.
The loss of George — the first tortoise found on the island of Pinta since 1906 — would have brought that number to four.
"Even after 35 years, Lonesome George seems uninterested in passing on his unique genes and has failed to produce offspring," said lead author Michael Russello of the University of British Columbia Okanagan who began working with the tortoises as a postdoctoral fellow at Yale.
"The continuing saga surrounding the search for a mate has positioned Lonesome George as a potent conservation icon, not just for Galapagos, but worldwide."
Researchers now hope that another tortoise from George's subspecies —Geochelone abingdoni — may be living on the neighboring Galapagos island of Isabela.
A multinational team headed by researchers at Yale has identified a tortoise which has half his genes in common with George and is "clearly a first generation hybrid between the native tortoises from the islands of Isabela and Pinta."
They hope that with further testing they will be able to find a genetically pure Pinta tortoise among the 2,000 tortoises living on Isabela and start a breeding program.(AFP)
SAY WHAT? 說說看
Saying that someone is alone means that there is no one else with them. Saying someone is lonely adds an element of wanting, but not having, company. For example: "Maybe you should go and play with your friend. She looks awfully lonely out there in the garden." Lonesome emphasizes the sense of sadness and yearning. For example: "He often feels lonesome when his wife is away on business."
OUT LOUD 對話練習
Dan: Man! I can't find my other sock! Where is it? Why is nothing ever where I thought it was? It's so unfair!
Adam: Hey, chill out! It's only a sock. Why are you in such a funk today?
Dan: I'm not in a funk! I'm just feeling a bit ... a bit ... lost.
Adam: You're missing your girlfriend, aren't you?
Dan: Well, maybe a little bit. Okay. Yes, I am missing her. I guess that's why I'm getting upset over little things. I'm sorry.
in a funk 不高興，沮喪
You can say that someone is in a funk if he or she seems depressed or down about something.
假如有人因某事而消沉沮喪，你就可以說那個人「in a funk」。
1. stubbornly adv.
固執地 (gu4 zhi2 di5)
例: Adon stubbornly refused to get up and make breakfast.
2. extinction n.
絕種 (jue2 zhong3)
例: Taiwan's clouded leopard has been hunted to the point of extinction.
3. offspring n.
後裔 (hou4 yi4)，子嗣 (zi3 si4)
例: The mother duck herded her offspring onto the water.
4. potent adj.
具繁殖力的 (ju4 fan2 zhi2 li4 de5)，強有力的 (qiang2 you3 li4 de5)
例: He presented a potent argument in favor of the merger.
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