Darwin Day Special: Some of Ecuador’s evolutionary radiations

Fundacion EcoMinga

The Beagle in the Galapagos. The Beagle in the Galapagos.

When Charles Darwin first landed on Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands in 1835, he was not impressed:

“The black rocks heated by the rays of the Vertical sun, like a stove, give to the air a close & sultry feeling. The plants also smell unpleasantly. The country was compared to what we might imagine the cultivated parts of the Infernal regions to be… I proceeded to botanize & obtained 10 different flowers; but such insignificant, ugly little flowers…” —Diary

“Nothing could be less inviting than the first appearance. A broken field of black basaltic lava, thrown into the most rugged waves, and crossed by great fissures, is everywhere covered by stunted, sun-burnt brushwood, which shows little signs of life… With the exception of a wren with a fine yellow breast, and of a tyrant-flycatcher with a scarlet tuft and breast, none of the birds are brilliantly coloured….All…

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