When the Galapagos were discovered by Spanish explorers in 1535, hundreds of thousands of giant tortoises roamed the islands. Survivors of prehistoric times when reptiles were of enormous size, some of the tortoises grow to four feet in length and weigh as much as 500 pounds. They may live for more than a century.
Lonesome George, the last Pinta Island tortoise, was believed to be around 100 years old. Fausto Llerena, George’s keeper for the past 40 years, found George dead in his pen this morning.
With no offspring and no known individuals from his species left, Lonesome George became known as the rarest creature in the world.