Lonesome George, the famous giant Galapagos tortoise thought to be the last of his kind, may not be lonely forever. In fact, he may become a father. Yale University researchers have been trying to save the species from extinction.
Lonesome George, an icon of the conservation movement, is described in the Guinness Book of Word Recods as "the rarest living creature". The tortoise was placed in captivity with females in the 1970s in the hopes that he'd produce offspring. He was entirely uninterested.
Now it appears 80-year old George is at the peak of his sexual prowess. Scientists were stunned last year to find several eggs in a nest he shares with females of a related species. But when Yale researchers traveled to the Galapagos they found the eggs were not viable.
Now there's new hope that George could re-establish his genetic lineage. Five more eggs have been discovered and are being cared for in an incubation center. Scientists will know in November whether the eggs are viable.