A. Davey

Remember when Galapagos tortoise Lonesome George died, back in June? It was kind of a bummer, because he was the last ever of his kind, the Pinta Island subspecies. They had tried and tried to get the guy to reproduce, but he just wouldn’t. He was like, “I’m the last Pinta Island tortoise, me, no one else, plus, I am not attracted to any of the lady tortoises whose eggs you want me to fertilize, so screw you,” and then he probably ate some stuff and then, eventually, died. So ordinarily this story would be kind of over. But in this case, it is not, because scientists think that they can actually resurrect his subspecies.

No, they can’t resurrect Lonesome George per se. Sorry. Death is still permanent. Lonesome George will not be doing poppers and flying off to Key West anytime soon, because no one can yet bring an individual being back to life, but a species? That is a different matter. All they have to do is cross-breed some turtles that have some of George’s same genetic materials. And then they cross-breed, and cross-breed and cross-breed, like cross-breeding fools, until eventually, they will get a pure Pinta Island tortoise. Just like Lonesome George. Only, of course, not him.

Of course this is going to take a very long time. Like 100 to 150 years. But resurrecting species is like making a fine wine. You can’t rush things. God, Lonesome George would have loved that analogy. Of course he’s not here to confirm that, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.