In the 1800’s people generally believed that species were unchanging fixtures of nature. The concept called the ‘fixity of species’ was a perception that zoologists and botanists adopted as part of their culture to reflect western religion and the story of creation as laid out in the bible. The point with ‘fixity’ was the idea that everything was a replica of one and other based on an ideal model form, being god’s perfect form. Darwin had a hunch and tried to find out if species were fixed or prone to evolution, he developed his theory of natural selection explaining evolution after researching the Galapagos Islands.
Darwin discovered that many of the species in the Galapagos Islands are endemic, meaning they are unique to the Islands. He also noticed that some of the species differ slightly from Island to Island. This knowledge eventually led to the realisation and birth of the theory of evolution and natural selection.
The periodically changing currents have allowed many different species to immigrate to the Islands. Some such as penguins and sea lions could swim with the help of the currents while others such as giant tortoises could float. The birds would aid plants to arrive at the Islands by ingesting seeds and other plants arrived as light spores on the wind or attached to the feet of certain creatures.
Darwin found thirteen types of finches and an incredible number of sub-species as the result of different food sources available on each of the Galapagos Islands for example; on Islands with many trees, the finches have beaks especially designed for breaking up rotten wood in order to feed on the insects living there. The most popular creature living on the Galapagos Islands is the giant tortoise; some finches have evolved special beaks that are small and sharp enabling them to pick ticks from the tortoises’ shells. The tortoises have varying shaped shells designed by nature to make feeding and reaching food an easier task.
The theory of natural selection came about meaning that the strongest survive and propagate and therefore increase the strength of the species. If you travel to the Galapagos Islands today you may visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and see the famous giant tortoises.
Experience Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands for yourself by taking an escorted tour – search online for Galapagos holidays in 2012 ; escorted holidays are a great way to ensure you don’t miss any of the rich culture, local tour guides are able to provide you with value information every step of the way.