Monday, June 13, 2011

The Wisest Tortoise of Them All

When we think about animals with long life spans, usually large mammals such as horses and elephants come to mind. While it is true that some other animals such as catfish, buzzards, and some lizards can live as long or longer than humans, the true “fountain of youth” animal has got to be the giant tortoise. These huge land-going tortoises, specifically the Galapagos tortoise and the Aldabra giant tortoise, weigh more than 500lbs and can live well in excess of 100 years.

The longest-lived tortoise ever recorded was named Adwaita. Adwaita was born in 1750 in the Seychelles islands, where he was captured by British seafarers and brought to India as a gift to British nobleman General Robert Clive, who kept the tortoise as a pet. Adwaita was transferred to the Alipore zoo in India in 1875, and continued to live there until his passing on March 23rd, 2006. Scientists’ carbon dated Adwaita’s shell and determined that he was 255 years old at the time of his death.

Adwaita in 2005. Photo: AP

No comments: