Galapagos Island: Cool Facts

Galapagos Island: Cool Facts
The Galapagos Islands are famous for their wide variety of plant and animal species, active volcanoes and interesting geological features. Galapagos is also a province of Ecuador, with a population of about 18,000 that spans over five inhabited islands.

Geography

Covering a total of about 8,000 square km, the Galapagos archipelago consists of 21 islands--13 large and six small--and 107 rocks and islets. The Galapagos was formed by volcanic activity, and several volcanoes are still active today.

Historical Encounters

Charles Darwin arrived on the islands aboard the HMS Beagle in 1935 as part of a Royal Navy expedition. It was there that Darwin performed his observations and collected the samples for his great work on evolution and natural selection, "The Origin of Species."

Animal Life

Due to a lack of natural predators, the Galapagos have a wide variety of animal species. Some interesting exotic animals include Galapagos penguins, the waved albatross, red-footed, blue-footed and masked boobies, and countless species of exotic fish and reptiles.

Plant Life

A wealth of similar plant species throughout the Galapagos are native to a specific location. This provides great models for the study of adaptive radiation (the development of new species from migrating populations). Aside from the many exotic plants such as giant prickly pear and orchids, the islands contain endemic species of cotton, tomato, guava, pepper and passion flower.

Fun Fact

Scientists have identified 14 distinct forms of giant tortoise throughout the Galapagos.

Article Written By Justin Higgins

Justin Higgins has traveled throughout South America. He writes articles that appear on various websites with a focus on travel and science-related topics. Higgins is a graduate from Ithaca College with a Bachelor of Arts in cultural anthropology.

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