Leading article: Turtle love

The tale of Lonesome George, the 90-year old Pinta Tortoise who appears to have mated successfully for the first time, has many lessons for the rest of us.

Perseverance is one. Scientists in the Galapagos had been coaxing George, the last of his kind, to procreate with a female from a subspecies for the past 15 years. Such were the frustrations that it was suggested, at one stage, that George might be gay. But he was seduced in the end. All those matchmaking efforts were not in vain.

Another lesson concerns the deceptiveness of appearances. George might not seem to be in the first flush of youth, but, as a tortoise, he is at his sexual peak.

But, in the end, the outstanding lessons of this happy ending are the most basic: never try to rush a tortoise, and don't expect one as shrewd as old George to stick his neck out until the last possible minute.