Monday, March 03, 2008

Following in Darwin's footsteps

David Bird wrote this interesting article, published on, about his trip to the Galapagos Islands, in the footsteps of Charles Darwin, which he describes as an almost religious experience.
I was champing at the bit to do likewise, to follow in his footsteps, but Julio informed us that no one was allowed ashore on that part of San Cristobal Island. It was to these islands that Darwin sailed on the H.M.S. Beagle in 1835 to observe and collect specimens as part of the development of his theory of natural selection, which lead to his book, On the Origin of Species.

I had taught the speciation of Darwin's finches for years in a Wildlife Ecology course on McGill's Macdonald campus and it was almost a religious experience to physically go there.
The other bird, whose name elicited giggles from everyone, was the blue-footed booby. Like most of the birds in the islands, these goofy-looking gull-like birds shamelessly danced and called to convince females to come and copulate with them.
Darwin's books, now in the "public domain", are available in free ebook format in several places, and have been nicely formatted for devices such as the Kindle and Sony Reader over at the premier ebook community I have both "Origin of Species" and "Voyage of the Beagle" on my wonderful Sony Reader, I just haven't got around to reading them yet. Sometimes difficult when you have such a large library at your fingertips.

Link: Darwin books available at

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