The Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands are a group of 16 islands located in the Pacific Ocean that straddle the equator about 525 miles west of the South American Coastline. The islands were formed by underwater volcanoes millions of years ago and belong to Ecuador. The Galapagos are well known for their vast diversity in plant and animal populations. Some of theplant and animal life found on the islands cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The Galapagos Islands are considered to be the last oceanic archipelago in the world that retains over 95% of its original biodiversity (Watkins and Cruz, 2007). These unique islands have had many influences on science and human philosophy through the many studies conducted by Charles Darwin. Due to the beautyand uniqueness of the Galapagos Islands they became a major tourist attraction and each year nets millions of dollars in profits for the Ecuadorian government. All the fame and fortune does not come without a price though.
There are many species of animals native to the Galapagos Islands. Some of these are in danger of extinction and some cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The mostfamous animals on the island are the Finches. These finches are well known through the studies of Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution through natural selection. The birds are very different from finches found on the mainland because their beaks have all evolved to suit their nutritional needs on the island. There are also six different species of tortoise on the island. The most well known isthe Giant Sea Tortoise. There are also many different Iguanas and Sea Lions that have called the Galapagos home for many years.
There is some wildlife found on the islands that was not there many years ago. These include goats, pigs, rats, and many domesticated pets that were brought to the islands, either purposely or accidentally, by tourists and migrants who came to live in paradise. Once theanimals were introduced to...
The Galapagos Islands
The Archipelago de Colon is better known as the Galapagos Islands, who got their name from the Spanish word galapago. This word means “saddle” and refers to the shells of one of the islands’ most famous inhabitants, the Galapagos Giant Tortoise (Wikipedia, n.d.). The Galapagos Islands are a group of volcanic islands located about six hundredmiles from Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean. This series of islands was the very first World Heritage Site chosen by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, UNESCO (Nelson, 2007).
An excellent example of this “adaptive radiation” is Darwin’s Finches. In fact, it was his study of these birds which led Charles Darwin to describe this phenomenon. As Darwin explored theGalapagos while on board the survey ship HMS Beagle, he noticed that each island he visited had a different type of bird. To Darwin, it appeared that the islands were inhabited by many widely-varying species of birds (Wikipedia, n.d.). Upon his return to England, Darwin carefully analyzed his specimens. A bird specialist at the Natural History Museum, John Gould, told Darwin that all of them werefinches. This led Darwin to speculate that all of the species arose from a few, or perhaps only one, bird who had arrived at one of the islands at some time in the past (Nebraska Citizens For Science, 2005).
Life In The Galapagos Islands (Or What's Left Of It)
A young couple ready for their honeymoon chooses to go to the Galapagos Islands.They are ready for the scuba diving, the nature, and the beautiful beaches of these historical islands. They cannot wait to see the animal and plant life that looks so beautiful in the pictures on the internet. What this young couple does not know is that with just them, other tourists, and outside animals being there they are destroying one of the rare places on Earth that has this precious animal...