Correction: Galapagos-Extinct Turtle story - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Correction: Galapagos-Extinct Turtle story

Posted: Updated:
(Galapagos National Park via AP). This photo released by Galapagos National Park on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2017 shows a turtle with genes from an extinct species of turtles that disappeared about 167 years ago, in Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. ... (Galapagos National Park via AP). This photo released by Galapagos National Park on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2017 shows a turtle with genes from an extinct species of turtles that disappeared about 167 years ago, in Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. ...

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) - In a story Sept. 13 about efforts to restore an extinct tortoise species in the Galapagos Islands, The Associated Press misidentified the name of the island where some tortoises still have genetic traces of the Chelonoidis elephantopus. It is Isabela Island, not Isabel Island.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Scientists hope to restore extinct Galapagos tortoise

Scientists in Ecuador's Galapagos islands are hoping to restore a tortoise species believed to have been hunted into extinction on Floreana Island in the 1800s

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) - Scientists in Ecuador's Galapagos islands are hoping to restore a tortoise species believed extinct since the 1800s.

The Chelonoidis elephantopus lived on Floreana Island and was captured by seamen in large numbers for food during long journeys across the Pacific. The species is thought to have disappeared shortly after Charles Darwin's celebrated visit to the treasured archipelago.

But a group of international scientists who collected 1,700 blood samples from tortoises on Isabela Island farther north during a research expedition in 2012 made a surprising discovery: 80 had genetic traces of the lost species.

"This is a species that was considered extinct for 160 years," Washington Tapia, one of the scientists studying the tortoises, told The Associated Press. "We didn't imagine what we would find."

Researchers with the Galapagos Conservancy and the Galapagos National Park are now trying to restore the species by selecting 20 specimens with higher amounts of the Floreana tortoise in its DNA to reproduce.

"We are not going to have a perfect species, genetically 100 percent like the one that was in Floreana," said Linda Cayot, a scientific consultant with the Galapagos Conservancy. "But we will have a tortoise population with many of the same genes as the original."

Scientists believe sailors who caught Floreana tortoises for food sometimes dropped them off on Isabela Island in order to lighten a ship's load before crossing the ocean. Isabela Island was typically the last stop before setting sail.

The scientists traveling to Isabela Island five years ago didn't originally set out to research the Floreana species and were surprised when their samples revealed such high quantities of the extinct tortoise's DNA.

The 20 tortoises identified as having the highest amounts of Floreana DNA have been placed in corrals containing three females and two males each in hopes of one day repopulating the island with close copies of the extinct species.

"We hear about extinctions and the damage humans can cause a species," said Ecuadorean Minister for the Environment Tarsicio Granizo. "But today, with the results of this investigation, we can tell the world that it is possible to reverse negative effects on the environment. We are going to recover an extinct species."

Jaime Chaves, an evolutionary biology professor at San Francisco University in Quito, described the study as an important example of how advancements in molecular science can potentially help reintroduce a bygone species.

"It's very exciting to witness the reach of these genetic studies, identifying individuals with the potential to be a starting point for the recovery of a unique lineage believed extinct," he said.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • More NewsMore>>

  • Salem car cruises need help to continue

    Salem car cruises need help to continue

    Tuesday, September 26 2017 4:42 PM EDT2017-09-26 20:42:03 GMT
    Two long-time popular events in Salem need a little help in order to continue next year. The events have become summertime traditions that benefit the city and local charities. For years the Arby's Car Cruise has attracted cruisers and car lovers every Saturday, and one weekend every June the show moves downtown for the Salem Super Cruise. It's been a labor of love for a group called the Cruisin Crew.  But the crew is getting older and will step away after this year. "And ...More >>
    Two long-time popular events in Salem need a little help in order to continue next year. The events have become summertime traditions that benefit the city and local charities. For years the Arby's Car Cruise has attracted cruisers and car lovers every Saturday, and one weekend every June the show moves downtown for the Salem Super Cruise. It's been a labor of love for a group called the Cruisin Crew.  But the crew is getting older and will step away after this year. "And ...More >>
  • Austintown police accuse West Middlesex man of soliciting sex from 'teen'

    Austintown police accuse West Middlesex man of soliciting sex from 'teen'

    Tuesday, September 26 2017 4:27 PM EDT2017-09-26 20:27:24 GMT

    A Craigslist ad and an Austintown cop pretending to be a teenaged boy have landed one man behind bars. 

    More >>

    A Craigslist ad and an Austintown cop pretending to be a teenaged boy have landed one man behind bars. 

    More >>
  • Niles sees improving finances

    Niles sees improving finances

    Tuesday, September 26 2017 4:05 PM EDT2017-09-26 20:05:54 GMT
    Niles was placed in fiscal emergency in 2014 after many of its major fund fell into the red.  In fact earlier this year, the water fund alone was in the red by nearly $800,000.  Now today the water fund is above water, sitting at over $200,000 in the black. Now as it enters the final quarter of 2017, for the first time in three years, all the major funds of the city, including water, light and its general fund have positives balances. City officials say it took a lot of har...More >>
    Niles was placed in fiscal emergency in 2014 after many of its major fund fell into the red.  In fact earlier this year, the water fund alone was in the red by nearly $800,000.  Now today the water fund is above water, sitting at over $200,000 in the black. Now as it enters the final quarter of 2017, for the first time in three years, all the major funds of the city, including water, light and its general fund have positives balances. City officials say it took a lot of har...More >>
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms