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

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.

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Devi Welch
5 years ago

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

Elizabeth L. Clark
6 years ago

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