Extinct large tortoise was once the ‘mammoth’ of Madagascar 1,000 years in the past

Local tortoise species of the western Indian Ocean, with residing species in colour and extinct species in grey. The newly known Astrochelys rogerbouri is at the best, the 3rd tortoise (in grey) from the suitable. (Symbol credit score: Drawings by way of Michal Roessler and picture by way of Massimo Delfino)

No less than a millennium in the past, an enormous tortoise crept via Madagascar, grazing on crops by way of the boatload — a bountiful nutrition that made it the ecosystem identical of mammoths and different giant herbivores. And just like the mammoth, this prior to now unknown large tortoise is extinct, a brand new find out about reveals.

The scientists came upon the species whilst finding out the mysterious lineage of big tortoises residing on Madagascar and different islands within the western Indian Ocean. After stumbling throughout a unmarried tibia (decrease leg bone) of the extinct tortoise, they analyzed its nuclear and mitochondrial DNA and decided that the animal was once a newfound species, which they named Astrochelys rogerbouri, in step with the find out about, revealed on Jan. 11 within the magazine Science Advances (opens in new tab). The tortoise’s species identify honors the overdue Roger Bour (1947-2020), a French herpetologist and professional on western Indian Ocean large tortoises. 

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