World’’s oldest animal may be a phoney

December 29th, 2008 - 1:17 pm ICT by ANI  

London, December 29 (ANI): A giant tortoise thought to be the worlds oldest animal, living on a remote British island since Napoleons time, may be a phoney.

Jonathans claim to the title had been founded on a Boer War picture of a Seychelles tortoise, which was said to have been on St Helena when the French military and political leader had been exiled there in 1815.

The land-dwelling reptile in the photograph had been named Jonathan, and for years it was considered that the animals were the same ones.

However, St Helena businessman and amateur historian Nick Thorpe said that he doubted the creature in the photograph had passed away 90 years ago.

Thorpe explained the confusion might have been created following the tradition among the Atlantic island territory natives to pass nicknames from father to son.

“I have a feeling that the Jonathan in the Boer War photograph died about ten years later, the Telegraph quoted him as telling the BBC.

“Since they have several giant tortoises on St Helena, they simply named the next largest one Jonathan.

“The date of 175 years old is being assumed because the Jonathan in the photograph of 1901 looks like the Jonathan of today.

“As they are very difficult to date, no one can say with any certainty that this current, reigning Jonathan is 176 or 150 or even 200,” he added. (ANI)

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