Sunday, May 20, 2007

Galápagos Islands: Charles Darwin’s ultimate discovery

Often called Darwin’s Biological lab, it is here, that Charles Darwin, the great Biologist made his famous conclusion – ‘the theory of evolution by natural selection’.

Galápagos Islands are home to a range of endemic species (native only to this set of islands) that include the Land Iguana (giant lizards), Marine Iguana, the famed Giant Galapagos Tortoise, the Giant Galapagos Green Turtle, Vampire Finch (specie of birds) and the Sea Cucumber (marine species) - a delicacy among many South Asians.

Galapagos Islands is an archipelago, made up of 13 volcanic islands, 6 isles and 107 rocky outcrops or islets. With the oldest one dating back to some 5 – 10 million years ago. This group of islands are part of South American country of Ecuador.

During the centenary year of Charles Darwin’s main publication of ‘The origin of species’ in 1959, the Ecuadorian Government preserved the 97.5 percent of archipelago’s land as a natural park. The remaining part was left to the locals who inhabited them.

Later in 1986, about 70,000 sq. km of surrounding ocean was declared a marine reserve, second only to the size established by the Australian Government for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

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