Science Song: A Musical Memorial for Lonesome George

Lonesome George SongI was showing a video about the Galápagos Islands to my Zoology class yesterday, and during a segment on the giant tortoises a student asked me the name of the tortoise that died that was the last of his species on one of the islands. I hadn’t heard about this particular tortoise, so I did some research online and found the story of Lonesome George.

George was a male tortoise on Pinta Island in the Galápagos, and the vegetation on the island had essentially been wiped out by invasive goats (brought in by humans). The destruction led to a crash in the tortoise population, and eventually George was the last tortoise of his species left. George was relocated to another island Galápagos, and efforts were made to find him a mate to try and continue his line. Sadly, efforts to produce offspring with tortoises from other islands proved unsuccessful, and George passed away in 2012. His species is now considered to be extinct.

I found the memorial song below on YouTube. It’s a sad song, and one of my students claimed that she was on the verge of tears after watching it. That being said, sometimes a visceral reaction like this can create a lasting memory of the effects that humans can have on populations of living organisms on this planet. It’s definitely worth watching.

About Peter Larson


I'm a recovering academic, current high school biology/zoology teacher, blogger, and science geek with diverse interests (and experience) in the areas of zoology, anatomy, evolutionary biology, developmental biology, and exercise science. I made the fairly unusual jump from higher ed (10 years, including tenure, as a college biology professor) to teaching high school biology at Coe-Brown Northwood Academy in Northwood, NH. In addition to being a dedicated teacher, I'm also an avid distance runner - I write about running at Runblogger.com. You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+.