Explore the Galapagos

  • By Susan K. Lewis and David Levin
  • Posted 10.26.09
  • NOVA

The Galapagos Islands, a remote archipelago off the coast of Ecuador, may be the birthplace of our scientific understanding of evolution. Charles Darwin, who put the Galapagos on the map, pointed to them as the "origin of all my views." In this multimedia feature, get a sense of their extraordinary animals and landscapes through panoramic photos, video, and audio. And trace Darwin's journey to see how the islands sparked his thinking about evolution.

Launch Interactive

With a multimedia map, see the islands as they are today and learn how they inspired Darwin.


Special Thanks

Chris Schneider, Boston University


Explore the Islands—Animals & Geology Video Credits

(marine iguana feeding)
© photoBlueIce/iStockphoto
(iguanas at water's edge)
© Krister Wulff/iStockphoto
(Galapagos giant tortoise walking 1, tortoise walking 2)
© Krister Wulff/iStockphoto
(blue-footed booby)
© Krister Wulff/iStockphoto
(Sally Lightfoot crabs walking)
© photoBlueIce/iStockphoto
(Galapagos sea lions on beach, sea lions underwater)
© Krister Wulff/iStockphoto

Explore the Islands—Animals & Geology Image Credits

(Galapagos penguin with horizon)
© John Frink/iStockphoto
(penguin at shore)
© Yaiza Fernandez Garcia/iStockphoto
(penguin on rock)
© John MacIlwinen/iStockphoto
(flightless cormorant drying wings)
© Tim Davis/Corbis
(cormorant swimming)
Courtesy Mark Putney
(common cactus finch)
© Visuals Unlimited/Corbis
(Carge ground finch)
© Miguel Castro/Photo Researchers, Inc
(woodpecker finch)
© Tierbild Okapia/Photo Researchers, Inc
(Darwin lake)
© Specialist Stock/Corbis
(satellite image of Fernandina and Isabela island volcanoes)
Courtesy NASA Earth Observatory
(volcanic crater)
© Frans Lanting/Corbis
(dormant volcanic cinder cones)
© Nancy Nehring/iStockphoto
(moray eel in a coral reef)
© Stephen Frink/Corbis
(school of fish near a coral reef)
© Dennis Sabo/iStockphoto

Explore the Islands—Panoramas Image Credits

(all Gigapan images)
Courtesy Bruce Perry

What Darwin Saw Image Credits

(The Beagle)
from Voyage of The Beagle by Charles Darwin
(Sean Carroll)
© WGBH Educational Foundation
("First Impressions" etching)
from A Naturalist's Journey Around the World by Charles Darwin
("Darwin the Collector" wildlife)
from Voyage of The Beagle by Charles Darwin
(Sean Carroll with tortoise)
Courtesy Cici Clark
("Eating Tortoises" drawing)
Public Domain
(Cliff Tabin)
© WGBH Educational Foundation
("Darwin's Finches" finches drawing)
Public Domain
("The Big Picture" portrait of Charles Darwin)
Public Domain

Related Links

  • Darwin's Darkest Hour

    A two-hour drama on the crisis that forced Darwin to publish his theory of evolution

  • What Darwin Never Knew

    One hundred and fifty years later, scientists decode nature's greatest mysteries—a two-hour special.

  • Darwin's Predictions

    Over 150 years later, science continues to confirm most of Darwin's conjectures.


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