Origins of the Extinct, Subfossil Galápagos Giant Tortoises (Chelonoidis niger) of the Post Office Lava Tube (Inferior) of Floreana Island: Voluntary or Accidental Occupancy?

Authors

  • Don Moll Department of Biology, Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri 65987, USA
  • Lauren E Brown, Ph.D. School of Biological Sciences, Illinois State University, Campus Box 4120, Normal, Illinois 61790, USA
  • Alan Resetar Amphibians and Reptiles, Field Museum of Natural History, 1400 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60605, USA

Keywords:

giant tortoises, lava tubes, subfossils, Floreana

Abstract

The origins of the remains of giant tortoises that have accumulated in vast quantities on the floors of caves in some locations where giant tortoises once lived have received only scant attention to date. The subfossil Galápagos Giant Tortoises (Chelonoidis niger) of Floreana Island’s Post Office lava tube (inferior) are the main focus of this paper with supporting data obtained from other tortoise populations and locations. These remains have historically been explained, if at all, as the result of accidental falls (e.g., via pitfall traps). With the accumulation of greater knowledge of tortoise ecology and paleoecology the likelihood of voluntary cave entry and exit, sometimes by large numbers of giant tortoises (e.g., the Aldabra Atoll Giant Tortoises), also seems plausible. If followed by occasional blockages of exits by geological phenomena such as roof collapse the tortoises could be trapped within as well. An inquiry into the available evidence for the occurrence of both phenomena is the subject of this paper.

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Published

2020-07-01

How to Cite

Moll, D., Brown, L. E., & Resetar, A. (2020). Origins of the Extinct, Subfossil Galápagos Giant Tortoises (Chelonoidis niger) of the Post Office Lava Tube (Inferior) of Floreana Island: Voluntary or Accidental Occupancy?. Tropical Natural History, 20(2), 134–143. Retrieved from https://li01.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/tnh/article/view/235520

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