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Whatever ... 2011 ... this must be # eight

 

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Coastweek -- It turns out that giant tortoises have a very special property, and this property kept them from making it to Europe for classification for three hundred years. WIKIPEDIA PHOTO - COURTESY: CHILDZY

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Design flaw of the giant tortoise

First 'discovered' in the fifteen hundreds, it
wasn’t until near the end of the nineteenth
century that they made it into the text books

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Coastweek -- I have found another great animal fact to add to the giraffe-lightning ‘fact’.

And this one has the benefit of definitely being true – I heard it from Stephen Fry, who is a bone fide source, being the UK’s national treasure and more revered than the Queen.

So, apparently it took over three hundred years for the giant tortoise to be classified and given a Latin name.

First 'discovered' in the fifteen hundreds, it wasn’t until near the end of the nineteenth century that they made it into the text books.

Why was this?

It turns out that giant tortoises have a very special property, and this property kept them from making it to Europe for classification for three hundred years.

The property was this – that they were edible.

They weren’t just edible, they were so fantastically tasty that no one could stop themselves eating all the tortoises before they got anywhere near home.

Ships would be stocked with dozens of these creatures – and not one made it through alive.
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FOR THREE HUNDRED YEARS

I’m not just talking about rufty-tufty oiky sailors.

All explorers, all zoologists, yes even Darwin was at it.

There are records of the time that compare the taste to chicken, beef, pork, butter, and all are ecstatic in their praise saying that they tasted SO MUCH better than any of these things.

Giant tortoises also had amazingly efficient bladders that acted like fresh water stores; this also turns out to be pretty handy on a long sea voyage.

So the poor things ended up being stacked on top of each other on the boats, unable to move, waiting out the long sea voyage for their turn at the dinner table.

There are plenty of these spectacular Giant Tortoise to be seen at Haller Park.

I wonder if they have plans for dinner.

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AND - of course, not forgetting the story of 'Owen and Mzee'!

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Coastweek - - OLD CHUMS - Hippo 'Owen' and tortoise 'Mzee' in their home at Bamburi's Haller Park near Mombasa. PHOTO - COURTESY: PETER GRESTE

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