Lonesome George dies… but it could have been much worse

Giant tortoises more delicious than chicken or beef

Giant tortoises more delicious than chicken or beefPoor old ‘Lonesome George’ the giant tortoise from the Galapagos has died at the age of 100 (or thereabouts).

That’s actually quite young for his species of tortoise and he was considered a “young adult”. He’s believed to be the last of his subspecies of Pinta island tortoise and the Ecuadorian authorities have promised to embalm him and put him on display – like a Communist dictator.

The autopsy on George found that he died of old age which is a kind fate in the circumstances. Had George been born 2 hundred years previously he might not have been so lucky…

Giant tortoises where considered to be a great delicacy by imperialists – so great in fact that they were nearly gobbled to extinction. So unbelievably delicious that almost all attempts to transport them to London ended in failure.

There was a great QI on it here:

So there you have it. Giant tortoises were considered more delicious than “chicken, pork, beef or mutton”.

Thankfully they’re a protected species now and more than 20,000 giant tortoises now thrive on the island… safe from salivating explorers.


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