Galápagos Giant Tortoise

Part of Hall of Reptiles and Amphibians.

In a glass exhibition case, a Galapagos tortoise, its head held erect on its extended neck, stands on its  thick limbs.

Of the many creatures on the Galápagos Islands, one of the most impressive is the huge Galápagos tortoise. Once so plentiful that ships loaded up on as many as 700 live animals, one tortoise could provide 200 pounds of meat.

It is now possible for scientists to identify the exact Galápagos Island from which zoo and Museum specimens, such as the tortoise featured above, were originally collected using DNA. This technology is helping captive breeding programs.