Scientists pinpoint genes that give Darwin’s finches their distinctive beaks
In a journal article published earlier this month in Nature, scientists revealed the genetic changes that gave Darwin’s finches — the Galapagos finches critical to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution — their evolving beaks. There are 15 recognized species of finches that descended from the original Galapagos finch, each with unique adaptations for survival. Princeton University researchers Peter and Rosemary Grant, who have dedicated their careers to studying Darwin’s finches, had this to say about the findings: “You can imagine how satisfying it is for us after all those years in the field to be able to discover a gene that underpins our findings of evolution by natural selection.” Read the journal article, or visit the Washington Post for a summary of the findings.
2015 Darwin Day Recap: Fonts, Funnies and More
Speaking of Charles Darwin, February 12 marked the annual Darwin Day, which commemorated the 206th anniversary of the birth of famous naturalist Charles Darwin. This year, we received nearly 1,000 “likes” on our Facebook post of the image at left — confirming that our supporters truly appreciate the man who brought the world his theory of evolution. To celebrate the occasion, Exodus Travel created a nifty comic strip on Darwin’s life and legacy, and a member of the Science Communication Department at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel created a downloadable “Darwin font,” along with a short article about Darwin’s life. Enjoy!
Ecuador at the Super Bowl
Ecuador became the first foreign country to purchase a 30-second commercial promoting tourism during the Super Bowl broadcast earlier this month. The commercial contained a montage of Ecuadorian landscapes set to a rendition of the classic Beatles’ tune “All You Need is Love,” which is part of the country’s “All You Need is Ecuador” campaign. According to the Ecuadorian government, tourism has increased by 14% since the launch of the campaign last year. View it now.
Galapagos Voted Best Place for Wildlife
Galapagos was named the world’s Best Place for Wildlife this month based on a four-week reader poll by USA TODAY and 10Best. The Enchanted Islands beat the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve in the Peruvian Amazon for the honor, another wildlife-centric destination and home to some of the largest Amazonian wildlife populations. Other winners in the top five included Costa Rica, the Brazilian Pantanal, and Alaska’s Katmai National Park. View all ten winners.