Lonesome George: How The AMNH Turned the Last of a Species Into Taxidermy

By on January 5, 2015

Lonesome George, the last known Pinta Island giant tortoise, just ended his run at the American Museum of Natural History. The 200-pound tortoise was brought into captivity in the Galápagos in 1972. Despite on-going efforts to find him a mate, another Pinta Island tortoise was never found. When he died of natural causes in 2012, at the age of 102 years old, master taxidermist George Dante was tasked with the unique challenge of preserving the last of a species both for beauty as well as scientific study.

How was that achieved?

Go behind the scenes with the AMNH team in this short documentary to see the taxidermy process that brought Lonesome George back to life.

Preserving Lonesome George

A taxidermist works on Lonesome George at the American Museum of Natural History

Now that the exhibit has ended, Lonesome George will return to his home on the Galápagos Islands.


  1. Avatar

    Devi Welch

    June 28, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    Great job of perservation,but very sad he’s the last of his kind.

  2. Avatar

    Elizabeth L. Clark

    January 5, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    To the master taxidermist, you gave George life and by your hands, gave him back to those who never saw him alive.

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