Darwin's (and Grants') Finches

This morning came the talk that everyone had been waiting for - Princeton professors Peter and Rosemary Grant presented their 33-year project on the adaptive radiation of Darwin's finches on the Galapagos. When they took the stage, the local media surged forward as attendees packed the room. Peter Grant began at the beginning: ?Two to 3 million years ago, an ancestral group of finches flew from the mainland to the islands at a time of great volcanic activity. They encountered an environment

Ricki Lewis
Jun 10, 2005
This morning came the talk that everyone had been waiting for - Princeton professors Peter and Rosemary Grant presented their 33-year project on the adaptive radiation of Darwin's finches on the Galapagos. When they took the stage, the local media surged forward as attendees packed the room. Peter Grant began at the beginning: ?Two to 3 million years ago, an ancestral group of finches flew from the mainland to the islands at a time of great volcanic activity. They encountered an environment very different from the present one.? There were only 5 islands; others would arise from the volcanic ?hot spot? in the western part of the archipelago. The climate was warmer and wetter than today. As the birds colonized different islands, they effectively used different resources, so that, over time, the ancestral stock gave rise to two major subgroups, with 5 species occupying trees and 6 that live mainly...

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