26/06/2012 10:08 BST | Updated 26/06/2012 10:12 BST

Lonesome George Dead, More Famous Animals Who Warmed Our Hearts (PICTURES)

lonesome george

RIP Lonesome George

There was an outpouring of grief and respect at the passing of giant Galapagos tortoise Lonesome George, earlier this week.

The 100-year-old, believed to be the last of his subspecies, was known as one of the rarest animals in the world, and earned his moniker after failing to mate throughout his lengthy life.

Now and then an animal wiggles its ways into the collective hearts and consciousness of the world, whether in a haze of cuteness, for its extreme talents or peculiar appearance.

Who will ever forget Knut, the gorgeous baby polar bear who melted hearts across the planet after his birth at a German zoo in 2006. Or Punxsutawney Phil, the weather-predicting groundhog immortalised in the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day?

Dead or alive, here are some of the most famous animals on the planet.