Thursday, February 12, 2009
Happy Darwin Day
Have you googled today? If you have then you might have noticed the tribute to Mr. Dawin. I see some of "Darwin's finches", from the Galapagos Islands in the illustration. When Darwin collected the birds, he actually thought he had a mix of finches, blackbirds, and warblers only to discover after the birds were examined back in England, by ornithogist John Gould that indeed they were all finches.
The bird that really go his attenion in the Galapgos were the mockingbirds on different islands.
Darwin wrote in The Voyage of the Beagle:
"My attention was first thoroughly aroused, by comparing together the numerous specimens, shot by myself and several other parties on board, of the mocking-thrushes, when, to my astonishment, I discovered that all those from Charles Island belonged to one species (Mimus trifasciatus); all from Albemarle Island to M. parvulus; and all from James and Chatham Islands (between which the other two islands are situated, as connecting links) belonged to M. melanotis."
He also noticed that the different species did not occur together on the various islands he visited and he wondered why this was...