What Would Darwin Think? Man vs. Nature in the Galapagos
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After Charles Darwin first visited the island archipelago of Galapagos in 1839, it took him another twenty years to decipher the scene he’d witnessed, the most perfectly preserved biodiversity on the planet. His theory of evolution – published 150 years ago – pulled back the curtain on a debate that had been simmering for years, and still percolates.
Today Darwin would be surprised by the tourist mecca Galapagos has become; 200,000 visitors a year, 40,000 permanent residents. The impact on the most unique collection of endemic wildlife in the world has been heavy; too many people bringing too many of their ways (and invasive species) from the outside world threatening the future of this one-of-a-kind place. What would Darwin think of how Galapagos has evolved in the twenty-first century?