• Henry Nicholls
Part of the Macmillan Science book series (MACSCI)


On 1 December 1971, American snail biologist Joseph Vagvolgyi and his wife Maria were on Pinta when they came face to face with a giant tortoise. The tortoise was walking slowly when we first encountered him, but withdrew into his shell with a loud hiss as we moved closer to take his picture’, Vagvolgyi recalled. ‘He soon relaxed, and resumed his walk.’ Vagvolgyi took a photograph and returned to the undergrowth and his search for snails. Neither he nor his wife realized the immense significance of their encounter.


Large Male Green Turtle Wildlife Conservation Society Immense Significance Giant Tortoise 
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Notes and sources

  1. ‘The tortoise was walking slowly…’: Vagvolgyi (1974)Google Scholar
  2. ‘The Vagvolgyi’s dinner party: Peter Pritchard, personal communication; see also Pritchard (1977)Google Scholar
  3. ‘The tortoise we saw on Pinta…’: paraphrased from Pritchard, personal communicationGoogle Scholar
  4. ‘I practically lost my teeth’: Pritchard, personal communicationGoogle Scholar
  5. ‘I was a pretty weird kid’: Pritchard, personal communicationGoogle Scholar
  6. ‘a peculiar beast …’: Pritchard (1977)Google Scholar
  7. ‘I resolved …’: Pritchard (1977)Google Scholar
  8. Rediscovery of the woolly flying squirrel: Peter Zahler, personal communicationGoogle Scholar
  9. Rediscovery of the Santiago rice rat: Robert Dowler, personal communication; see also Dowler et al. (2000)Google Scholar
  10. ‘It’s a woolly flying squirrel’: Zahler, personal communicationGoogle Scholar
  11. ‘I remember seeing bleached bones …’: Peter Kramer, personal communicationGoogle Scholar
  12. Details of the goat-hunting trip to Pinta in March 1972: Manuel Cruz, personal communication; see also Cruz (1994)Google Scholar
  13. ‘We both thought it was a goat …’: Cruz (1994)Google Scholar
  14. ‘The swinging of the tortoise …’: Cruz (1994)Google Scholar
  15. Details of Ole Hamann and Peter Pritchard’s trip to Pinta: Ole Hamann and Peter Pritchard, personal communication; see also Pritchard (1977)Google Scholar
  16. ‘I was much more excited …’: Pritchard, personal communicationGoogle Scholar
  17. ‘They have found a tortoise, a large male’: paraphrased from Ole Hamann, personal communicationGoogle Scholar
  18. There was still hope …’: Pritchard (1977)Google Scholar
  19. ‘It lacked the antediluvian look …’: Pritchard (1977)Google Scholar
  20. George’s movements on arrival at the CDRS: Kramer, personal communicationGoogle Scholar
  21. Status of tortoise populations throughout the archipelago: see MacFarland (1974a)Google Scholar
  22. Pinzón egg collection: see Perry (1970); MacFarland (1974b)Google Scholar
  23. Captive breeding of Española tortoises: see Perry (1970); MacFarland (1974b)Google Scholar
  24. Details of Pritchard’s week on Pinta: Pritchard, personal communicationGoogle Scholar
  25. ‘The utter senselessness of it…’: Pritchard (1977)Google Scholar
  26. Arrival of Vagvolgyi’s photograph: Pritchard, personal communicationGoogle Scholar
  27. Pritchard and Kramer compare Vagvolgyi’s photograph to Lonesome George: Pritchard and Kramer, personal communicationGoogle Scholar
  28. ‘George is about as short and inconspicuous-looking …’: Anon. (1954) Gobel bowls ‘em over, TV Guide 2, 5–7Google Scholar
  29. Counting rings works for young tortoises: Kristin Berry and Linda Cayot, personal communicationGoogle Scholar
  30. Lonesome George’s age: Cayot and Pritchard, personal communicationGoogle Scholar
  31. Marion’s tortoise: Gerlach (1998)Google Scholar
  32. Tui Malilia: see; Gerlach (1998)
  33. Harriet’s dubious origins: Chambers (2004a)Google Scholar
  34. ‘Harriet’s DNA shows signficant differences …’: Chambers (2004b)Google Scholar
  35. George’s fall: Anon. (1980) Lonesome George achieves immortality — in bronze. Noticias de Galápagos 32: 2–3Google Scholar
  36. George’s weight gain: Cayot, personal communicationGoogle Scholar
  37. George’s neck swelling: Cayot, personal communicationGoogle Scholar
  38. George’s constipation: Joe Flanagan, personal communicationGoogle Scholar
  39. Treatment by nutritionist: Olav Oftedal, personal communicationGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Henry Nicholls 2010

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  • Henry Nicholls

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