Quite an interesting photo of an integral piece of the #History of the study and classification of the giant tortoises of the #Pacific and #Indian Oceans. Pictured here is Sir Walter Rothschild, son of Nathan Rothschild, the 1st baron Rothschild, on the back of a giant Chelonoidis tortoise. Sir Rothschild shared a lifelong fascination for all wildlife ranging from giant Australian birds to the giant tortoises we know and love. He began to amass a collection of wildlife at a very young age in Tring, England, and even became Albert Günther’s (one of the first giant tortoise advocates and researcher) pupil in a sense. In Rothschild’s lifetime he collaborated with many scientists who were attempting to unravel (the still unraveled) taxonomy of the giant tortoises. In the late 1890’s and in the beginning of the 20th century Rothschild himself organized a scientific/collection trip to the Galápagos Islands to observe and collect animals. By the end of this trip, Rothschild had hundreds of Galapagos tortoises in his collection. Over the many years of Rothschild’s collecting years and even after, his voyages and specimens would lay the foundation for many others to base their claims and formulate their own hypotheses about any aspect of the chelonians biology, evolution, and history. Such a fascinating piece of history, knowing that what laid the foundation for what we know about these animals was first discovered half a world away from their natural range.
#naturalhistory #walterrothschild #rothschild #chelonoidis #tring #england #galapagos #naturalengland