Charles Darwin: Notes of Observation and Theories

Charles Darwin, science

Charles Darwin and his notes of observation and theories may have just been given credence in two areas. A soon-to-be published study about animals living on islands, revealed that they are more tame than their relatives on the mainland. This is inspiration for biologists according to Theodore Garland.

Charles Darwin came up with the theory of evolution and used the Galapagos Islands as his field laboratory to study animals. He studied island animals and wrote about their tameness, he thought their actions were due to little to no predators on the island, which they inhabited.

Six universities concur with the findings of their research and agree that “living on an island makes animals tamer.” The study will be published in Proceedings of The Royal Society B. The University of California, Riverside, Indiana University, Purdue University, Fort Wayne and George Washington University confirm Darwin’s notes about island tameness of animals.

Theodore Garland, a coauthor of the paper is a biology professor at the University of California, Riverside.

The researchers on the team measured predators and prey distances on islands and the mainland. Five continents were used with islands of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas, were also included. What they found was that tameness exists on islands and the greater the island distance out from the mainland, the shorter the predator-prey distance will be. More clearly, the prey initiates flight to escape from the predator in shorter flights. Darwin’s notes of observation and theories of these animals, written down 183 years ago, now have scientist agreeing with him. That would be that animals adapt and become more tame, when they don’t have many predators to flee from.

Thus, the analysis is islands truly are a paradise, especially for lizards. The prey are either not used to predators on islands, because there are not many of them, or these prey have not developed ways in which to escape that are quick. The group of scientists who researched these lizards found, they could approach them and get closer than lizards on the mainland. In all they studied 66 species with the study to be published next month.

Amborella Plant
Amborella Plant

Another Charles Darwin theory or question of his was about flowers. Specifically, he wondered, why did flowers suddenly flourish upon the land millions of years ago? He called this the “abominable mystery.”  Discoveries about the genome of the Amborella plant may contain the clue to that mystery and it’s been published. This is exciting news.

Scientists from Penn State, University of Buffalo, University of Florida, University of Georgia and the University of California at Riverside studied the Amborella plant. It is a small tree and has white to yellow flowers. The plant lineage takes this line back to ancient times. So to study this flower and the evolution process, of what predisposed it to forward 300,000 flower species would be enlightening.

The Amborella plant and its DNA was conclusive that it evolved after a “genome doubling event.” So, “genome doubling” may be the answer to “abominable mystery” or the proliferation of the flower species.

This is exciting news in the genome of flowering plants and researchers think this will give new information on food crops, which could help farming around the globe. Charles Darwin and his notes of observation and theories have just seen the light of day, at least two of them.


By Kim Troike





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