Iguanas grazing on the ocean floor, finches drinking blood, tortoises as heavy as ponies, flightless cormorants, penguins at the equator, daisy trees… the Galápagos Islands abound with species that are nowhere else to be found on earth. Specialists call them endemic species. Darwin refers to the islands as “a little world within itself”.
These plants’ and animals’ ancestors came over the ocean from the mainland. They arrived in an environment that was different from their land of origin, with different food, different enemies and a different climate. In order to survive here, they had to adapt and change. This process of change is called evolution. The endemic species of the Galápagos Islands are testimony to evolution. Endemic species are like a history book that tells us about the course of evolution. If endemic species become extinct, we lose an important part of our earth’s history.