[extropy-chat] Addwaita:250 years is a long time.
robert.bradbury at gmail.com
Tue Mar 28 07:49:51 UTC 2006
My dictionary ("The Collaborative International Dictionary of English",
apparently derived from Webster (1913)) defines "anecdote" as:
"A particular or detached incident or fact of an interesting nature; a
biographical incident or fragment; a single passage of private life."
Joao's problem is that the documentation is a collection of stories... who
brought the tortoise to India, how long Lord Robert Clive kept him in his
garden, etc. -- the more robust documentation is only from when the tortoise
became a resident at the Calcutta zoo in 1875. But there is no good way of
verifying that that tortoise was not obtained from the Seychelles in 1875
instead of much earlier (all of the people involved are now dead). So one
may only have individual accounts (dairies, an occasional newspaper story,
etc.) and so one may have significant difficulty confirming them.
The somewhat less anecdotal tortoise longevity story involves a Madagascar
radiated tortoise (*Geochelone radiata*), known as "Tui Malila" which
Captain James Cook presented to the Tongan royal family in 1773 or 1777.
That tortoise was either 188 or 192 years old at its death in 1965.
Joao is one of the world's authorities in this area (documenting the maximum
longevities of various species). If he could reasonably extend the
longevity of a species I suspect that he would -- but one doesn't become an
"authority" by making assertions that can easily be questioned.
It will be interesting to see if efforts to date Addwaita using carbon
dating will yield any useful information (I don't believe the carbon dating
can be used with much certainty for periods of hundreds of years).
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