Article ID: CBB763453622

The Endling Taxidermy of Lonesome George: Iconographies of Extinction at the End of the Line (2019)


Bringing greater visibility to the emerging category of endling taxidermy, this article traces the histories of taxidermic preservations and biotechnological interventions that lead up to, and follow, the extinction of the Pinta Island tortoise. As the last of the line, Lonesome George (the last individual of the Pinta Island species) is an endling that has been rendered hypervisible in the public imagination as an icon of conservation. Yet the taxidermic form of Lonesome George is also accompanied by an enlarged and conflicting sense of trepidation and optimism about the future of species biodiversity in the wake of the sixth mass extinction. By gathering together the narrative strands of tortoise extinction in the Galápagos Islands from a diverse range of natural scientific, nautical, and literary histories, this article explores how the visual display of endling taxidermy shapes the origins, endings, and future trajectories of extinct species lines.

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Authors & Contributors
Morris, Pat A.
Morris, M. J.
Nowak-kemp, Malgosia B.
Lambkin, Kevin J.
Byrne, Dianne F.
Grant, K. Thalia
Archives of Natural History
Configurations: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Technology
Renaissance Quarterly
Endeavour: Review of the Progress of Science
MPM Publishing
Princeton University Press
River and Plains Society
University of Minnesota
University of Michigan
Natural history
Science and art
Darwin, Charles Robert
Gerrard, Edward
Alder, Anthony
Dugés, Alfredo
Scouler, John
Douglas, David
Time Periods
19th century
20th century, early
20th century
21st century
16th century
Galapagos Islands
Great Britain
Queensland (Australia)
Montana (U.S.)
Boston (Massachusetts, U.S.)
Oxford University
Harvard University

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