Charles Darwin Galapagos Islands animals | Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution by natural selection

Charles Darwin Galapagos Islands animals

Charles Darwin's Galapagos Adventure » Galapagos Islands

Darwin Beagle Itinerary“In a few days’ time the Beagle will sail for the Galapagos Islands. I look forward with joy and interest to this, both as being somewhat nearer to England and for the sake of having a good look at an active volcano.”

-Charles Darwin, letter to J.S. Henslow, July 12, 1835.

Darwin got more than he bargained for when he visited the Galapagos Islands. He may have come for the volcanoes, but it would be the unique Galapagos wildlife that would leave a more lasting impression on this English naturalist.

Darwin and the HMS Beagle were in Galapagos during the months of September and October of 1835, and during this time Darwin had the opportunity to explore a handful of islands, collecting Galapagos species for use in his research back home.

Galapagos Giant TortoisesThese species would eventually be used to illustrate Darwin’s controversial theories, and the Galapagos Islands have had a privileged place in natural history ever since.

Darwin’s Galapagos expedition was, in one sense, not unlike the visits enjoyed by thousands of modern visitors every year.

The Beagle itself was far too large to land, so it cruised around the islands and smaller boats would take Darwin and the other crew members ashore, where they could mingle with the endemic wildlife. Modern ships such as the Cormorant and Ocean Spray follow a similar pattern, sending guests ashore in small, easy to use pangas or dinghy boats.

So where did Darwin go and what did he see?

Here is a description of Darwin’s Galapagos itinerary:

September 15-23, 1835: San Cristobal Island.

On September 15th land was sighted: it turned out to be Mount Pitt, part of San Cristobal Island.

Darwin first went ashore in Galapagos on September 18th while the crew captured several San Cristobal giant tortoises for food.

Darwin was intrigued by the tortoises and by the rocky island and the lava that formed it.

He mentioned seeing a few “dull-colored” birds: presumably the famous finches that would later bear his name!

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