Aldabrachelys abrupta Grandidier, 1868

Madagascan giant tortoise, Madagascar giant tortoise



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Testudo abrupta Grandidier, 1868; Geochelone abrupta Pritchard, 1967; Asterochelys (?) abrupta Bour, 1980; Dipsochelys abrupta Bour, 1982; Dipsochelys abrupta Grandidier, 1868


Conservation Status


Last record: c. 1200 AD


A report of a tortoise from Madagascar during the 1940's could conceivably refer to this species (Decary, 1950).





Biology & Ecology

Collagen values (Joseph & Seymour, 2022).



A single skull is known. Other material may be extant, however.






Original scientific description:

Grandidier, A. 1868. Sur les découvertes zoologiques faites récemment à Madagascar. Ann. Sc. Nat. Zool. Paris 10: 375-378.


Other references:

Andriantsaralaza, S., Pedrono, M., Tassin, J., Roger, E., Rakouth, B. and Danthu, P. (2013). The role of extinct giant tortoises in the germination of extant baobab Adansonia rubrostipa seeds in Madagascar. African Journal of Ecology. [Abstract]

Arnold, E. N. 1979. Indian Ocean giant tortoises: their systematics and island adaptations.  Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 286: 127145.

Auffenberg, W. (1974). Checklist of fossil tortoises (Testudinidae). Bull. Florida State Mus. 18: 121251.

Bour, Roger. (1985 "1984"). Les tortues terrestres géantes des îles de l’océan Indien occidental: données géographiques, taxinomiques et phylogénétiques, pp. 17-76. In: F. de Broin and E. Jiménez-Fuentes (Eds.) Comunicaciones del I Simposium Internacional sobre Quelonios Fósiles, París, Octubre, 1983. Studia Geologica Salmanticensia, Volumen Especial 1 (Studia Palaeocheloniologica I) [1984].

Burleigh, R. and Arnold, E. N. (1986). Age and Dietary Differences of Recently Extinct Indian Ocean Tortoises (Geochelone s. lat.) Revealed by Carbon Isotope Analysis. Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B 227(1246): 137-144. [Abstract]

Burleigh, R. et al. (1982). British Museum natural radiocarbon measurements XIV. Radiocarbon 24(3): 229-261.

Decary, Raymond. (1950). La faune malgache, son rôle dans les croyances et les usages indigènes. Paris: Payot. [pp. 205-206]

Gerlach, Justin. (2008). Redescription of the Skull of the Extinct Madagascan Giant Tortoise, Dipsochelys abrupta. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 7(2): 251-255.

Gerlach, Justin and Canning, K. L. (1998). Taxonomy of Indian Ocean tortoises (Dipsochelys). Chelonian Conservation and Biology 3: 3-19.

Joseph, Grant S. and Seymour, Colleen L. (2022). Are Madagascar's obligate grazing-lawns ancient and evolved with endemic herbivores, or recently selected by introduced cattle? Biology Letters 18: 20220212.

Mahé, J. and Sourdat, M. (1972). Sur l’extinction des Vertébrés subfos- siles et l’aridication du climat dans le Sud-Ouest de Madagascar. Description des gisements. Datations absolues. Bulletin de la Société Géologique de France (7)14: 295-309.

Pedrono, M. (2008). The tortoises and turtles of Madagascar. Natural History Publications (Borneo).

Turtle Extinctions Working Group et al. (2015). Turtles and Tortoises of the World During the Rise and Global Spread of Humanity: First Checklist and Review of Extinct Pleistocene and Holocene Chelonians. Chelonian Research Monographs No. 5: 1-66.

Uetz, P. et. al., The Reptile Database, , accessed December 11, 2010.


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