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  • Some of the most remarkable creatures

  • encountered by Darwin on the Galápagos were its iguanas.

  • He was particularly fascinated by the marine variety,

  • though it was far from flattering.

  • Darwin wrote that they were "hideous-looking creatures

  • "of a dirty, black colour, stupid and sluggish in their movements."

  • He did concede, however, that they were strong graceful swimmers.

  • Bearing in mind how much time they spent in the water,

  • Darwin was surprised to find that marine iguanas didn't eat fish.

  • He dissected several creatures

  • and found that their stomachs were full of seaweed.

  • Darwin noticed the water was too cold

  • for marine iguanas to stay in for a long time.

  • When they weren't feeding,

  • he observed them clinging to the rocks above the shoreline,

  • basking in the sun.

  • After the cold sea, these reptiles craved warmth.

  • Darwin was also interested in their terrestrial cousins,

  • although he wasn't complimentary about their appearance.

  • He called them "small, ugly animals with a singularly stupid appearance

  • "and lazy, half-torpid movements."

  • Today, they're still plentiful on some islands

  • but marine iguanas are particularly vulnerable

  • to changes in sea temperature,

  • which can have a dramatic effect on the availability of seaweed.

Some of the most remarkable creatures

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B2 marine darwin galapagos seaweed appearance sluggish

Galapagos: the marine iguanas (3/7)

  • 49 3
    kevin posted on 2015/03/02
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