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The wildlife of the Galapagos inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Horizon: Wings of Angels, BBC 1999
GALAPAGOS ISLANDS, an archipelago of five larger and ten smaller islands in the Pacific Ocean, exactly under the equator. The nearest island to the South American coast lies 580 miles West of Ecuador, to which country they belong. The name is derived from galápago, a tortoise, on account of the giant species, the characteristic feature of the fauna. The islands were discovered early in the 16th century by Spaniards, who gave them their present name. They were then uninhabited. The English names of the individual islands were probably given by buccaneers, for whom the group formed a convenient retreat. Encyclopaedia Britannica 1911
In the vastness of the Pacific there’s a place unlike any other: enchanted volcanic islands that are home to a remarkable collection of animals and plants. Here, evolution is proceeding with spectacular speed. Black lizards that swim in the oceans and spit salt from their noses. Penguins thousands of miles from Antarctica. And an abundance of unique plants. David Attenborough’s Galapagos: Origin, Sky 2013
Life has evolved in isolation. ibid.
There are sixteen of them and a multitude of small islands … the biggest island is Isabela. ibid.
A sanctuary for … Giant Tortoises … How for example did these enormous beasts get to the islands in the first place? ibid.
Different islands have different kinds. In their heyday there were fifteen species. ibid.
Galapagos was born of fire … they lie plum on the equator. ibid.
Some of the first animals here were species. There are some 150 different known species of them in the Galapagos today. ibid.
Beetles are Nature’s great recyclers … Once here, these beetles began to change. ibid.
Carpenter Bees are still the main pollinators on the islands. And the plants have adapted accordingly. ibid.
Blooms of phytoplankton grow and shrink over the seasons. ibid.
Hammerhead sharks … the red-lipped bat fish … the sun-fish … sea-lions … hump-back whales … the twenty-ton whale shark … a great variety of sea birds. ibid.
In effect the cormorant flies under water. ibid.
Behold the marine iguana! … They simply sneeze the excess salt from their blood. David Attenborough’s Galapagos: Adaptation
El Nino: as many as 90% of them can perish. ibid.
Waved Albatrosses are monogamous – they mate for life. ibid.
The remains of ancient Galapagos islands stretch for hundreds of miles across the Pacific sea-bed. ibid.
The largest fish in the world – the whale shark. ibid.
The Giant Tortoise is the very emblem of the Galapagos. ibid.
The most spectacular explosion of biological diversity in the world. David Attenborough’s Galapagos: Evolution
On September 16th 1835 HMS Beagle arrived in the Galapagos Islands. ibid.
Each [island] is a separate evolutionary community. ibid.
All the animals here are amazingly tame. ibid.
Fernandino’s iguana colony – with no significant predators around, these herbivores produce lots of young … they ventured into the sea itself to graze seaweed on the sea floor. ibid.
30,000 people live here in three small towns. ibid.
The presence of human beings has stopped this Finch from evolving. ibid.
Once-threatened species [tortoise] have been brought back from the brink. ibid.
A pink iguana … a hundred or so individuals … Nobody knows why it’s pink. ibid.
Each new discovery we make gives Darwin’s discovery a new relevance. ibid.
The marine iguana of the Galapagos are the world’s only sea-going lizards. Seaweed is all they eat. David Attenborough: The Blue Planet VIII: Coasts, BBC 2001
The Galapagos Islands got their name from the herds of tortoises that live on them. David Attenborough, Life on Earth I: The Infinite Variety, BBC 1979
Galapagos: arguably the most pristine archipelago on Earth. It’s a unique living world … It’s a bizarre collection of creatures. Each micro world – complex and unique. Nature’s Microworlds I: Galapagos, BBC 2013
The integrity of the food chain relies on the few insects pollinating the plants. ibid.
Reptiles are a true hallmark of Galapagos. ibid.
In Galapagos we find unique species everywhere we look. ibid.
Darwin’s finches … Different finches each rely on different plants and creatures. ibid.
The world’s only tropical penguins. ibid.
The only sea-going lizard found in the whole world. ibid.
During the rest of his voyage Darwin would encounter a vast variety of plants and animal species he’d never seen before. He’d discover fossils of giant extinct species that seemed to resemble the living animals around him. And in the Galapagos he’d encounter different species of birds and tortoises uniquely adapted to the conditions on each of the islands. Everywhere he looked he seemed to find evidence that Life on Earth was constantly changing. (Darwin & Evolution & Galapagos Islands & Extinction & Species) Andrew Marr, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, BBC 2009
December 1831: The Beagle’s mission was to map the coast of South America ... And when the ship anchored at the Galapagos Islands, Darwin discovered a natural treasure trove. Darwin’s Brave New World, CBC 2009
In the vastness of the Pacific a once in a lifetime expedition is under way … through the Galapagos Islands. Galapagos: one of the greatest treasures of the natural world. Over a thousand species here are found nowhere else on Earth. Galapagos I: Cauldron of Life, BBC 2017
Galapagos is made up of thirteen main islands and many smaller rocky outcrops. ibid.
The pink iguana is a new species. ibid.
These are the world’s only sea-going lizards. ibid.
We’re going beneath the waves to study the most endangered marine life in Galapagos in search of a giant of the depths, to reveal how young sea-lions are fighting for their lives, and to discover why hammerhead sharks gather here in huge numbers. Galapagos II: Secrets of the Deep
The ocean sunfish … no-one knows what sunfish do in deeper waters … the world’s largest bony fish … ibid.
In many parts of the world hammerhead numbers have decreased by a staggering 99% per cent in the past thirty years. ibid.
But now we’re heading to these islands to the centre and east of the archipelago where the impact of man is more evident. Galapagos III: Future Frontiers
These turtles can hold their breath for up to four hours. And those powerful flippers allow them to reach speeds of over thirty kilometres an hour. ibid.
An important habitat for sharks in Galapagos – mangroves. ibid.
Santa Cruz: just one square kilometre remains … Scalesia. ibid.
In the Pacific Ocean lies an enchanted world. Home to a remarkable community of strange animals most of which exist nowhere else. Galapagos. The islands that inspired Darwin to formulate his Theory of Evolution. For thousands of years this wilderness remained untouched by humanity. But things have changed dramatically. Natural World s34e3: Galapagos: Islands of Change, BBC 2015
Surfers share the waves with Galapagos sea-lions. ibid.
Marine iguanas have become the most widespread animals on Galapagos. And this process of adaptation still continues. ibid.
The mocking bird … only survives on two tiny islands. ibid.
Wildlife tourism has become the lifeblood of Galapagos. ibid.