Evolution of species - Charles Darwin´s theory in the Galapagos Islands
Charles Darwin arrived in the Galapagos aboard the Beagle he had spent years observing the various plants and animals around the world. This voyage and the visit to the Galapagos helped him make formulate an astonishing theory. He concluded that flora and fauna evolve over time in a process of natural selection. The species to survive would alter based on environmental conditions.
The Galapagos Islands provided ample examples of adaptation for Charles. One example is the 13 species of finch collectively known as Darwin's Finches. Each originating from a common ancestral species developed its own traits over years in order to compete for survival within its environment.
In the case of Darwin's Finches the birds are similar in appearance yet the scarcity of food required that they adapt in order to survive. Over thousands of years each species sought food from a different source and the finch's beaks evolved in order to efficiently cope with the variety of food sources. Ground Finch developed large beaks allowing them to crush seeds where the Warbler finch developed a pointed beak for eating insects.
The Charles Darwin Research Station in Puerto Ayora offers an interpretive display discussing the evolution of life in the Galapagos Islands.
"In any population of animals, a relatively large number of young are produced. Since not all survive, a struggle for existence must occur.
Within a population there is much variability. Some differences may confer an advantage in the struggle for existence. Those organisms, which are best adapted to their environment, will survive.
Due to heredity, offspring tend to resemble their parents. Well-adapted organisms tend to have well-adapted offspring. Thus, certain traits become established in the population.
If environmental conditions change, there may be selection for different traits. The variability within a population determines whether it will be able to survive these changes."
Darwin's theory set the world on edge when his book The Origin of Species by Natural Selection was published. His ideas still create conflict with those who believe in Creation rather than Evolution. While traveling through Darwin's Islands visitors have the opportunity to observe the same animals that he did in order to make their own conclusions. The most obvious conclusion is the creatures of the Galapagos having lived years without the threat of predators do not have the natural fear of human that most animals posses. Viewing the wildlife is an easy and fun experience.