Beak of the Finch Chapter Summaries

3292 Words Nov 1st, 2010 14 Pages
Eliel Pepito
8/1/10
The Beak of the Finch Summary

The Beak of the Finch by Jonathan Weiner explores evolution through the most famous examples in history—the finches of the Galápagos Islands. Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection and the process of evolution are applied directly to what scientists refer to as Darwin’s Finches. Weiner follows scientists Peter and Rosemary Grant as they study the finches in real time on the Galápagos. Years of previous work, study and data is collected and analyzed. Different species of animals are observed and explained throughout history. The Grants have one goal, and that is to find the origin of the species, how organisms first began. They find that it really is about the “survival of the
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The Grants observed how the two ground finches preformed while attempting to obtain a seed called a Caltrop. Caltrops naturally have spikes around the seed as a defense against intruders. The Magnirostris did not have a hard time cracking open the Caltrop, with its hard, powerful jaw. However the Fortis would have to put more effort into cracking a single seed. The regular Fortis would try for six times and then give up, moving on to another seed. They will often move onto a different seed without trying. However the Fortis with a beak that is slightly deeper beak would attempt to crack the caltrop, and after a few tries, will succeed. The Grant’s are capable of studying Darwin’s theory of natural selection in action, after gathering data from their colleagues, Peter Boag and Laurene Ratcliffe, who would be their watch on Daphne Island. Peter and Laurene witnessed an important event in natural selection, during a life or death situation with the finches. Though the two scientists were anxious for rain, but they did not receive a single drop that season. Rain would mean reproduction and fertility for the finches; however, the birds were faced with e horrible drought. Food became scarce and the finch population declined. Easy seeds to obtain on the ground were nearly gone. The seeds with tougher defenses, such as the caltrop, were usually untouched, since they were hard to crack. The finches with inadequate beaks did not

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