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George the Snail, the last of his species, Achatinella apexfulva, died on Jan. 2. Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources

By Jason Bittel

On January 2, a snail named George shriveled up and died in his tank at the University of Hawaii. He was 14 years old, which for a land snail is pretty long in the tooth (or in George's case, radula). But in all of his years, George never sired any offspring. There were simply no mating partners to be found. In fact, George was the last known member of his species, Achatinella apexfulva. And the moment he slimed off this mortal coil, 2019 experienced its first documented extinction.

While George's death came as a bit of a surprise (it's tough to tell when a snail is ill), the extinction of his species has been a long time coming.

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