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The Origin of a New Species: Darwin’s Finches in the Galapagos

Charles Darwin’s visit to the Galapagos aboard the HMS Beagle in 1835 was integral in forming his theory of natural selection that underlay The Origin of Species. Observing how finches varied from one island to the next sparked Darwin’s curiosity—and it’s a process still happening today! Join Galapagos naturalist guide Josy Cardoso to learn about a study conducted in 2017 that revealed the evolution of a new finch species in the wild, in real time. And it took just two generations! Genomic sequencing and the analysis of physical characteristics confirmed the new species of Darwin's finch, endemic to the small island of Daphne Major in the Galapagos. Josy shares details of this incredible opportunity for scientists to witness the evolution of biodiversity under pristine conditions. The Galapagos Islands are home to at least 15 species of Darwin’s finches – so named because they helped Darwin devise his theory of evolution. Enjoy a living science lesson as we discover how two of these species came together in a hybridization process called to create an entirely new one!


Originally presented September 28, 2020
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