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Excellent history of the decline of the giant tortoise at the hands of man from the C16, and also of its value to science. Victorian scientists were fascinated by these creatures, and from speculation on why such large animals were always to be found on remote islands came the first understanding of ecology and biogeography. The C20 saw the establishment of wildlife reserves in the Galapagos and elsewhere but it was too late for many species. Chambers shows how modern genetics has been able to track down members of what were once believed to be extinct populations.