Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
  High-Bandwidth Version
Search Evolution  
 
Click to return to the Evolution Home Page
darwin change extinction survival sex humans religion
Darwin    
   
An Origin of Species

Introduction | Storm | Pollenpeepers' New Homes | Windsor Island | Warwick Archipelago | Gallery

honeycreeper honeycreeper honeycreeper

What do these birds have in common? Very little, judging from their specialized beaks, body types, and behaviors.

Yet close examination and molecular analyses reveal otherwise. Each is a member of a family of birds called honeycreepers, and they all share the same common ancestor: a single finchlike species that scientists estimate arrived on the Hawaiian Islands about 5 million years ago. At one time there were as many as 57 species of honeycreepers.

This is certainly not the first time living creatures have taken the dramatic evolutionary pathway known as adaptive radiation. The Species Gallery highlights some of the most extraordinary outcomes of this very common process.

How can one species evolve in so many different directions?

-> Explore what Darwin called "the mystery of mysteries"

Intro | Storm | Pollenpeepers' New Homes | Windsor Island | Warwick Archipelago | Gallery

  related web activities  
   
Darwin's Diary
Delve into Darwin's secret inner world.
 
 
Coral Reef Connections
Dive in and learn why this beautiful world is so fragile.
 
 
All in the Family
Test your skills at judging who's who on the tree of life.
 
   
Sex and the Single Guppy
Learn how exhibitionism has an evolutionary payoff.
 
 
related topics  
 
Adaptation and Natural Selection  
 
Evolution of Diversity  
 
Deep Time/History of Life  
 
 
       
    Source Credits    
Videos Web Activities Site Guide About the Project FAQ Glossary Site Map Feedback Help Shop