Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog

In Other News, Old Things Die

As my esteemed Sciencebloggers Jake, Evolving Thoughts, Bora, and PZ have reported, “Darwin’s Turtle” died. Named Harriet (actually Harry, but was found to be female 100 years later so it was changed), the tortoise was picked up in the Galapagos islands by Charles Darwin. It found its way to the Brisbane Zoo, under the dubious yet entertaining auspices of Steve Irwin. It was 176 years old!

My opinion is this: This is no mournful or sorrowful passing. I think its a joyous celebration of life that an ambulatory (albeit slowly) animal lived as long as it did, providing a link to a person who science now respects and admires. We don’t need that physical link anymore. Darwin has immortalized himself in the hearts, minds, and experiments of biologists. Despite the best efforts of the evo-debunkers and IDiots, evolution is STRONG and NOT GOING ANYWHERE. This, of course, has little to nothing to do with the death of an old tortoise. Truth is, the value of that tortoise was arbitarily placed upon it by post-Darwinian nostalgics. In contrast to many tortoises (whales, manatees, parrots, etc etc) that are killed young or even eradicated from the Earth, Harriet’s story is one of triumph not sorrow.