This week you are to discuss the Galapagos Islands and evolutionary biology. (1) What is it about the geography and the geology of the Galapagos Islands that make them an ideal place to stimulate ideas about evolution in someone like Charles Darwin? (2) Describe the preparation (academic studies AND practical experience) of Darwin that allowed him to recognize important characteristics that linked populations of animals he studied in the Galapagos Islands to specific niches in their respective environments. (3) Contrast Darwin’s ideas about how populations of organisms can changeover time with the ideas of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. Important hint regarding the pertinent geology: how did the Galapagos Islands form, and how did this mechanism of formation create conditions that would lead to divergent populations of organisms that appear to have descended from a single species? Learn about the geography of the islands and figure out how their location interacts with how they were formed to cause the few species that could arrive there to adapt and specialize into a number of new species over time.
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