Friday, May 04, 2007

It's Not Easy Being Green

The Grave Digger

"Lonesome George" was nicknamed because he was believed to be the only survivor of a tortoise species native to the isle of Pinta.

The giant Galapagos tortoise has been a conservation icon for many years. Now, the journal Current Biology reports the discovery of a hybrid - the offspring from the union of a Pinta tortoise and another island species.

Unfortunately for efforts to get George to reproduce, this hybrid tortoise, recently found on Isabela isle, is also a male.

Nonetheless, its discovery in a relatively small sample of tortoises raises fresh hope for the future of George's species (Geochelone abingdoni).
Researchers say that a genetic sampling of more Isabela isle tortoises could reveal another genetically pure Pinta. Even so, it appears George is a particularly choosy individual: he has a "stubborn aversion to the opposite sex."

When George was placed in captivity at the Charles Darwin Research Station on the island of Santa Cruz, he was housed with two female tortoises from a species taken from Isabela.

After 35 years, he has failed to produce any offspring; though, admittedly, none of these tortoises has belonged to George's species.
Link. I believe that if these scientists had done a little more research, they would find John Tierney's Flaw-o-matic explains it all.
In this meta-analysis of online dating and speed dating, we propose a corollary to the Flaw-O-Matic theory of romantic revulsion. Current research reveals that the Flaw-O-Matic, a mechanism in the brain that instantly finds fault with any potential mate, can be reoriented positively in certain conditions through a newly identified process, the Sally Field Effect.
Thanks to a revolution in dating research over the past decade, the Flaw-O-Matic now looks like a more versatile mechanism than we theoretical pioneers imagined. Tierney discovered that
Just as Darwin could have predicted, the researchers have found that women are pickier than men. While men concentrate mainly on looks and will ask out a lot of women as long as they’re above a certain threshold of attractiveness, women focus on fewer prospects.
Do the female tortoises of another species look remarkably different? This could be the source of George's Flaw-o-matic.

Tierney found that women are less willing to date someone of another race. If another race is a setback, how about a different species? Is George to blame for that? Here are some other specifications women have.
They prefer taller men, but they’re willing to relax their standards for the Ron Perelmans of the world, as revealed in a study of more than 20,000 online daters by Gunter Hitsch and Ali Hortacsu of the University of Chicago and Dan Ariely of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

They found that a 5-foot-8 man was just as successful in getting dates as a 6-footer if he made more money — precisely $146,000 a year more. For a 5-foot-2 man, the number was $277,000.
Link (registration required). What's the answer? We should try tortoise speed dating.
These speed daters were looking for someone who shared their distaste for the others in the room: someone who was just as picky as they were. When they found that person, and neither one of them sneered or bolted, that hectoring little voice in the brain was suddenly transformed into a purring engine of love. They gazed dreamily into each other’s eyes, channeled a certain actress on Oscar night, and thought: “Your Flaw-O-Matic likes me! It really likes me!”
So researchers: my message is to provide George with more income, introduce him to several lady tortoises over a short period of time, and let the Flaw-O-Matics fly.


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