A Waved Albatross couple preen on the island of Espanola, the only one of the Galápagos Islands where the birds nest (Photo: Amanda Chavenson)
Centenarian tortoises, albatrosses that fly 10,000 miles, and salt-sneezing iguanas! They’re home in the Galápagos Archipelago, volcanic islands separated from mainland Ecuador by 600 miles of water. The archipelago has served as a pirate haven, a center for whaling, and, today, as a national park of Ecuador. Most famously, the Galápagos played a critical role in Darwin's discovery of evolution by natural selection.
The islands’ geographic location supports an amazingly rich and diverse ecosystem filled with fascinating flora, fauna, and geologic formations. Tonight, naturalist Thomas Holtz, a paleontologist and science educator in the department of geology at the University of Maryland, brings to life the story of the Galápagos. He describes its intriguing wildlife, importance in the study of evolution, and efforts to ensure its future as one of the great wonders of the natural world.
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