Watching Evolution Through Time
Visitors touring the Galapagos Islands will spend plenty of time looking at the incredible wildlife and wondering: “How did these animals come to be?” Of course, they won’t be the first to have asked such question.
Writing about the islands back in 1845, Charles Darwin wrote: ‘Considering the small size of these islands, we feel the more astonished at the number of their aboriginal beings, and at their confined range…Hence, both in space and time, we seem to be brought somewhere near to that great fact, that mystery of mysteries – the appearance of new beings on this earth’.
In a land that seemingly offers such little diversity of landscape, food source and climate, the existence of such a huge diversity of animal life is something that is instantly noticeable about the islands. And something that did not escape the young Darwin when he first visited in 1835.
In fact, it was his visit to the islands and sample collections that started in motion one of the greatest scientific discoveries of all time – a theory that would change the way we see the world: Evolution.
Darwin noticed that each island seemed to be home to a slightly different kind of mocking bird. Despite the relative proximity of the islands to each other, the slight difference in conditions on each seemed to have affected the way the bird had developed.
The same is true of the 30 finch species that live on the islands. Each has a different shaped beak perfectly ‘designed’ for acquiring food on each specific island. Some have long beaks for finding insects in cracks in the rock, others have short and strong beaks for cracking seeds. It is within the different beaks of these small birds that lies the secret to how all life on earth came to be.
Through the survival of birds with short/long/flexible beaks on each specific island, relative to the conditions, over time all their descendants would come to develop similar features. It was only on the Galapagos Islands that this evidence was clear enough to deduce how it could have been possible.
Today on Galapagos tours, you can still see evolution in action. The strange and mysterious animals on the islands all display characteristics that are completely unique to their environments. From the flightless cormorants who can swim like fish, to the turtles whose shells have evolved to allow them to reach food on higher branches. It all makes perfect sense when you think about it. It just took a genius like Darwin to spot it first.
It is these amazing qualities that make Galapagos tours on boats like the Coral I & II so popular with lovers of nature and science. It is thanks largely to this truly unique destination that the secrets of life as we know it were unlocked. Contact Us today to help you arrange the perfect trip to enjoy the Enchanted Galapagos.