Seeing What Darwin Saw

This is a swallow-tailed gull, not a finch

(Reis) Today, on the island of Cerro Dragon in the Galapagos Archipelago, our great guides told us how the small changes in DNA and genes can make the reptiles, plants, mammals and insects adapt to fit the environment in which they are living. The key to adaptation is TIME. For a species to adapt to a certain environment, it happens over many generations. Take the Darwin Finches for example; their ancestors on land ate seeds. When they came to the Islands, they found none, or very little seeds. Some of the ones who found they could eat other things, survived. For the others it was Game Over. The survivors passed their genes onto the next generations. The sons and daughters found they had the ability to eat non-seed meals like fruits, bugs and even blood. And that backs up the theory of Natural Selection. Survival of the Fittest. That’s what gives Galapagos its glory. No, not tourists. But the feeling of going back in time, to the time pre-human, all animal era.

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2 Responses to “Seeing What Darwin Saw”

  1. Unfortunately, the term ‘Survival of the Fittest’ is widely misinterpreted.

    In Darwin’s book ‘On the Origin of Species’ it reads ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change’.
    Hence, it’s not extraordinary strength or outstanding specific ability in the common sense but rather the ability to adapt to new environments. In fact, extreme treats or specialization might actually further your demise – think dinosaurs! Food for thought here since too many facets of our daily life celebrate specialists, superheroes and not nimble generalists …

    But hooray, with your trip you are definitely on the right track since you are learning soooo many different things!

    Cheers from Dover – Jens

  2. Alex Martiros 17. Nov, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Reis! That is so cool that you know so much about Darwin! Miss you all!