The Galapagos Islands are famous for their abundance of wildlife, which inspired Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. Robyn Williams retraces Darwin's footsteps and discovers that not all that much has changed off the coast of Ecuador.
It is staggering to recall how very young both men were: only 22 when they set out. By the time they reached Galapagos in 1835, they were still just 26.
Charles Darwin didn’t embark on the good ship Beagle in 1831to be its official natural historian—he did that to amuse himself. It wasn’t as a priest—Darwin’s theological education didn’t get very far and he was not inclined to be a vicar. In fact, Darwin was there on what turned out to be one of the most famous voyages in human history as a companion for the captain, Robert FitzRoy. FitzRoy was upper class and the rest of the crew wasn’t; without Darwin, the captain would have dined every day for five years with no one to talk to. Socialising outside your social position was not permitted.
As it was, despite the proper class alignment, their interaction was strained. FitzRoy was a High Tory (he had, indeed, stood for parliament as a Conservative) and young Darwin even then was much liberal and came from one of the most enlightened families in England. When his views on evolution and the possible absence of God became known to FitzRoy, the relationship became even more tense.
It is staggering to recall how very young both men were: only 22 when they set out. By the time they reached the Galapagos in 1835, they were still just 26. Yet their five weeks on these astonishing volcanic islands an hour’s flight from the coast of Ecuador were to change history and the intellectual life of the modern world forever.
I was intensely aware of this as I set foot on Santiago, my first island, in January this year. ‘Was Charles Darwin really here on this spot, ’ I asked my guide? ‘Assuredly, ’ he replied, ‘we have his diary recording what he did here. It is well understood.’
Image: Sea Lions (Taro Regan Williams) Image: Sullivan Bay (Taro Regan Williams)
The Galapagos, like Machu Picchu in Peru, is a renowned site that’s even more spectacular and enthralling than you expect. And it’s much larger. There are 16 main islands, which are all different because they were formed as the continental plate moved over a hot spot deep in the Earth, shooting volcanic peaks upward, to be worn away over the millennia. Some are now mountainous crags, some have become flattened discs and others mere rims of sunken caldera with most of their abundant life cavorting underwater or in the air. Darwin noticed that each special environment has its own quite different population of creatures and plants. Time had sorted them and done so, it turned out, very quickly. There were few predators to stop the iguanas, giant tortoises and unique birds (such as the famous blue-footed boobies) from multiplying and producing the variety of offspring needed to adapt successfully.
And, yes, they are not only abundant but thrillingly unbothered by the likes of us. You can stroll among them as you please, without getting too close so that you don’t transmit germs or smells. At one island, the one with ferrous red rocks and sand, a sea-lion was giving birth as our rubber boat reached the shore. The pup was licked and gradually moved away from the lapping waves by its energetic mother as a ring of tourists looked on from one side. Meanwhile, a ring of sea lions watched as a mockingbird hopped in and greedily pecked at the crimson afterbirth.What are values examples? How to evolve spritzee? How to draw a cow? What the 49ers are getting in charvarius ward? How to make water? What does lmy mean? How to download a video from youtube? What does anecdote mean? what is a helper on a motor vehicle The room where it happens meaning? What does snakes mean in a dream? What is the true meaning of squid game? How to stop having nightmares? Chrome book tips you need to know how to geek? What meaning did beethoven supposedly provide for symphony no. 5’s opening idea? Tricks to get more bars on your phone when in the country? What is the meaning of 11/11? How to use iphone 13? What is the meaning of the name cora? How to make smores? Let's go brandon what does it mean? How to cook a tomahawk steak? How to draw hair anime? What is jousting meaning? How to make stomach stop hurting? How to do bike tricks? What symbol is trainer tips perfect? How to get rid? How to store fresh garlic? How to alphabetize in google docs? Why cant i do my skateboard tricks off of gaps? What is devanning meaning? What does dwt mean? How long do fingers tips grow? Supernatural ep where meg tricks sam? What does substantiated mean? How clean is your house cleaning tips? What happens on a cladogram as you move farther away from the base (and closer to the tips)? How to change apple id? What does tips training stand for? What dental services are covered by medicare? Tips when taking blood pressure? How many tips on christmas tree? What is the meaning of friday the 13th? What are the signs of dementia? What is the meaning of irc? How to change alarm volume on iphone? What does isbn stand for? What does uni taste like? What do servers make an hour without tips? What is home equity? Tips how to prolong your ps2 life? What is a 304? What is a coo title meaning? Tips for dealing with someone who has anxiety? How to cancel subscriptions on amazon prime video? What time does autumn start 2021? What are hydrops? What yktv meaning? Cosplay tips how to make fabric stiff? What are the side effects of trazodone? How to charge a vuse without a charger? What does 23 mean? When anxiety was great within me meaning? Dragonvale tips and tricks 2016 how to breeding? What does kaden mean? what rhymes with helper How to with john wilson? What does epi mean in medical terms? What is the meaning of april fool's day? How to stop sugar cravings instantly? What does spices mean? Cats who do tricks like dogs? What are beauty marks? How many tips do the fbi investigate? How to make french fries in air fryer? What time does thanksgiving parade start? What does mhm? What are protestants? What is the meaning of proof in alcohol? What does an overbite look like? What does sub mean? Where were they going without ever knowing the way meaning? What does opa mean in greek? What does leeward mean? What does it mean to be anointed? How to grow business tips? How to do mr. wizard tricks at home? How much to donate sperm? What does chica mean in spanish? How to catch a football better tips? How to clean comply ear tips? How to replace a car battery? What is the meaning of decrepit? How to screen shot on ipad? how to remove my login helper from chrome How to frost the tips of your hair for men? What does bad bacon look like? What does it mean when someone is unavailable on messenger? How to stream on twitch? How to calculate apr? What does nfs mean?