Lonesome George’s Girlfriend

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


Until the 1990s, Lonesome George spent most of his captive life isolated from all other tortoises at the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS), alone in his spacious pen on the coast. As the Galápagos tourist industry and George’s popularity grew, he needed a more prominent compound. In 1988, Linda Cayot, head of reptiles at the CDRS, floated designs for a new enclosure at the end of the tourist trail through the research station. Work was completed in early 1992 and George took up residency. At the same time, Cayot took a big step. She put two females into George’s new pen — females from the northernmost volcano on Isabela Island.


Captive Breeding Gray Wolf Captive Life Manual Stimulation Florida Panther 
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Notes and sources

  1. Overview of George’s life at the CDRS: Linda Cayot and Roslyn Cameron, personal communicationGoogle Scholar
  2. Outbreeding depression in ibex: cited in Frankham et al. (2002); van Wieren et al. (2005)Google Scholar
  3. Hybridization of red wolves with coyotes: see Frankham et al. (2002); Wayne (1996); Wilson et al. (2000)Google Scholar
  4. Inbreeding depression in the Florida panther: see Culver et al. (2000)Google Scholar
  5. Townsend visit to collect the last remaining Galápagos tortoises: Townsend (1928)Google Scholar
  6. Efforts to breed tortoises at the CDRS: Corley Smith (1976)Google Scholar
  7. ‘Visit Lonesome George, the world’s oldest living gay turtle’:
  8. Ubiquity of homosexuality in the animal kingdom: Bagemihl (2000)Google Scholar
  9. Early learning influences adult behaviour: see Freeberg (2000)Google Scholar
  10. Japanese quails watching TV: Ophir and Galef (2003)Google Scholar
  11. ’some animal species show increased interest …’: Fritts (2002)Google Scholar
  12. ‘Potentially the visual, olfactory, and even auditory stimuli …’: Fritts (2002)Google Scholar
  13. Captive breeding of Seychelles and Arnold’s tortoises: Justin Gerlach, personal communicationGoogle Scholar
  14. von Hegel’s technique: Gisela von Hegel, personal communicationGoogle Scholar
  15. ’she could do this in just a few minutes’: Cayot, personal communicationGoogle Scholar
  16. Semen collection and artificial insemination in elephants: Thomas Hildebrandt, personal communication ‘looks like the greatest Swiss cheese’: Hildebrandt, personal communicationGoogle Scholar
  17. ‘the penis is actually a structure that you never should touch’: Hildebrandt, personal communicationGoogle Scholar
  18. Details of Sveva Grigioni’s work with George: Grigioni (1993); Grigioni and Cayot, personal communicationGoogle Scholar
  19. ’sveva could get the other male tortoises …’: Cayot, personal communicationGoogle Scholar
  20. ‘He was very shy at the beginning’: Grigioni, personal communicationGoogle Scholar
  21. ‘if a single female moth were to release all the bombykol …’: Lewis (1995)Google Scholar
  22. Wedekind’s T-shirt experiment: Wedekind et al. (1995)Google Scholar
  23. Mexican rams: Lezama et al. (2001)Google Scholar
  24. ‘Day by day, he started to be more interested in the females …’: Grigioni, personal communicationGoogle Scholar
  25. ‘If I had had more time …’: Grigioni, personal communicationGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Henry Nicholls 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henry Nicholls

There are no affiliations available

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