Darwin’s Other Bird

If you think about Darwin’s bird, it is only natural that the finch comes to mind. In September 1835, the English naturalist Charles Darwin and the crew of the “Beagle” arrived in the Galapagos Island. These volcanic islands are located west of Ecuador, along the Equator in the Pacific Ocean. The travellers had got there as part of their five-year (1831-1836) journey to study plants and animals around the world. Darwin collected and documented a dazzling array of species in the Galapagos, and he studied these organisms when he returned home to England. Eventually, he focused his study on his collection of finches, a species of small birds. The finches were very similar, but had beaks of different sizes and shapes. Darwin theorized that the beaks were adaptations that helped each species of finch eat a different type of food, such as seeds, fruits or insects. Darwin’s study of the plants and animals of the Galapagos was integral to his theory of natural selection, a part of the larger process of evolution.

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