Aldabrachelys abrupta

Aldabrachelys abrupta, the abrupt giant tortoise, is an extinct species of giant tortoise that was endemic to Madagascar.

Aldabrachelys abrupta
Temporal range: Holocene
Aldabrachelys abrupta.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Cryptodira
Superfamily: Testudinoidea
Family: Testudinidae
Genus: Aldabrachelys
A. abrupta
Binomial name
Aldabrachelys abrupta
  • Testudo abrupta Milne-Edwards, 1868 (nomen nudum)
  • Testudo abrupta Grandidier, 1868
  • Geochelone abrupta Pritchard, 1967
  • Asterochelys abrupta Bour, 1980
  • Dipsochelys abrupta Bour, 1982
  • Aldabrachelys abrupta Austin, Arnold & Bour, 2003


It was a large species, roughly 115 cm in length. It was originally one of the six endemic tortoise species of Madagascar (two large Aldabrachelys; two medium Astrochelys; two small Pyxis). It was sympatric with the other giant tortoise species of Madagascar, Grandidier's giant tortoise (Aldabrachelys grandidieri (also extinct)), and both species occupied both the coasts and the cooler highlands of Madagascar, where they fulfilled the role of large grazers. A. abrupta was a browser of bushes and low-hanging branches; A. grandidieri was a grazer of grassy meadows and wetlands.

Unlike its sister species, which had a low, flattened shell, A. abrupta had a high, domed shell.


Material of this species has been dated to 750–2850 years before present, and it seems to have been widely distributed throughout Madagascar. It was estimated to have gone extinct c. AD 1200. However, remains with disputed dating have suggested that some survived up until at least 1500, and it seems to have survived a considerable time in coexistence with humans, before it finally died out.[2]


  1. ^ Fritz Uwe; Peter Havaš (2007). "Checklist of Chelonians of the World" (PDF). Vertebrate Zoology. 57 (2): 265. ISSN 1864-5755. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-12-17. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  2. ^ A.Rhodin, S.Thompson: 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 Foundation. 2015. 000e.27

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