- Purchase/rental options available:
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.