darwins finches

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by samkunze
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Evolutionary Biology

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darwins finches

"It's about being better suited to an environment and having an increased chance of surving long enough to be able to have offspring that will take your genes into the next offspring." (Science Quest 10, 2012, Loft, G)Natural Selection is the mechanism for Evolution and there are three key terms that make it happen.-Variation Variation provides an individual with variations that may or may not give them an increased chance of survival over others within a particular environment-Selection Ecosystems contain many living (biotic) and non-living (abiotic) factors. these factors help select which variations will aid the organisms chance of survival. Predators, disease, mating partners, etc. are some biotic factors while some abiotic factors include temperature, shelter, water, etc.-Competition Competition is when an individual with selective advantages fights another animal of the same species for a certain resource such as shelter, food or mates. The organism with enhanced characteristics will beat the opponent, therfore having and increased chance of survival and reproducing.

The Divergent Evolution of Darwins's Finches on the Galapagos Islands

What is Natural Selection & how can it contribute to the evolution of organisms?

Charles Darwin (one of the creators of the theory of Natural Selection and the one who observed the Finches on the Galapagos Islands, hence the name Darwin's Finches)

The Galapagos Islands (where the finches experienced their dramatic evolvement)

It is still unclear as to what bird family the Galapagos Finches belong to and what species of Galapagos Finches the approximately 15 species originated from. Although, we do know that all of the species that live on the islands today belong to one of the five Genera including Geospiza, Camarhynchus, Certhidea, Pinardoxias and Platyspiza. Every breed of the finches all have noticible differences bu the two species of Galapagos Finches that display extreme differences are the seed eating large ground finch (Geospiza magnirostris) and the insect eating small tree finch (Camarhynchus parvulus) as their body and beak sizes and shapes differ greatly.

This diagram shows all the different species of Darwin's Finches an how they all came from the same ancestor

An overview of Darwin's Finches and their evolution-ary process

This diagram shows how different the finches have become over time and how their different features (especially beaks) determine what they eat and how they live

Real life Galapagos Finches and their remarkable differences to each other

The process that made the Galapagos Finches so different from each other was Divergent evolution or Branching evolution. Divergent evolution is the process of two or more species being created over time from a common ancestral species. This happens when a population is seperated into two or more different habitats, mostly by a geographical barrier like a mountain or ocean. As a result, the separates population can only breed with mates in their own population and prevented from interbreeding with other populations. As a result of the different populations now facing different environments to each other, they slowly begin to change from the other populations to suit their own environment. After a long period of time, the changes can become so great that it is now no longer possible for the different populations to produce fertile offspring, infact they are now considered as different species. This is exactly what happened to Darwin's Finches.

Approximately 1-1.5 million years ago when most of the species of the Galapagos Finches were formed

Approximately 2-3 million years ago when the finches first arrived on the Galapagos Islands


A timeline of the arrival and formation of the finches at the Galapagos Islands


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