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Season 12 | Episode 9

Galapagos

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(Frans Lanting / www.lanting.com)

Today, the strange story of a small group of islands that raise a big question: is it inevitable that even our most sacred natural landscapes will eventually get swallowed up by humans? And just how far are we willing to go to stop that from happening?

We are dedicating a whole hour to the Galapagos archipelago, the place that inspired Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection. 179 years later, the Galapagos are undergoing rapid changes that continue to pose -- and possibly answer -- critical questions about the fragility and resilience of life on Earth.

Produced by:

Tim Howard

To The Brink

When our producer Tim Howard landed in the Galapagos, fresh from his honeymoon, he had the ghost of Darwin and dreams of Eden in his head. But he found something very different from what Darwin would¹ve seen. With a local election just days away, Tim discovered a strange new tension between the ...

Comments [3]

Resurrection

Fighting to protect a species is one thing, but what if that species is all but gone -- can you bring it back?  Should you? Or, as Holly Doremus and Josh Donlan argue, have we already changed our world so dramatically that the only way forward is to accept that Nature will never be how it was?  And Gisella Caccone explains ...

Comments [5]

In Real Time

The finches of Galapagos are an iconic symbol of evolution in action: each species neatly adapted to its island's environment, thanks to enormous time spans and total isolation. But isolation is not so easy to maintain these days. Despite heroic efforts by the government of Ecuador to control the ...

Comments [10]

Comments [64]

Harriet Emerson from Florida

The man who claims to be an outsider in the Galapagos, didn't like the industrialization of the area because of the toll it took on the environment. This is a prime example of humans destroying the ecosystems around them. It was interesting all the ways they would try to kill off the goat population. It crazy how much humans have damaged the earth the extents they will go to, to fix it. Its not right how the people of the island treat the animals, for example the pinta tortoise population becoming extinct. Animals like the finches face extinction is really sad how they are being killed off and the measures they are taking to protect the species of the Galapagos. Science has come so far to bring back species and preserve them.

Oct. 19 2014 04:24 PM
Zara L. from Panama

I like how this podcast is about one of the most important habitats in the world. The islands and Darwin were a huge breakthrough in the scientific communtiy. Darwin pretty muched began the Theory of Evolution. The speaker in this podcast described the life on the islands and I enjoyed what he shared from his experiences there. I don't like how industrialization has taken over the life there and it's unfortuante what has happened to some of the animals.

Oct. 17 2014 01:48 PM
John S from NYC

I'm late to the party but I was listening to this episode this morning and I was laughing to myself saying "oh boy, here we go!" Cause we all know the views on animal rights for the public radio listening demographic. I couldn't wait to read the comments. Thankfully these people aren't incharge of the environment or conservation because in 20 years Galapagos would be a barren volcanic rock where even people couldn't live, all the animals would be dead and the last people there would have to move to some dirty metropolis. We (animals included) are all going to die. but we (I hope) are smart enough to do cullings to make the species and the environments survive after we animal lovers of today are long gone. I think we can be not so selfish and kill some goats if we really think about it and think about the future.

Oct. 12 2014 11:54 AM
Sam

Great show! But how could you miss this awesome story when talking about Philornis??

http://www.nature.com/news/cotton-balls-help-darwin-s-finches-to-help-themselves-1.15142

Oct. 03 2014 11:55 AM
Orestes

Imagine a Judas goat finding another group, and beginning to tell them all the horror stories of her past.

"Wait, so you're telling me whenever you're with another group of us, you're the only one who survives?!"
"Yep."
"Sh*t."

Sep. 25 2014 09:14 AM
Francisco G. from NYC.

Can't stop laughing about all the enraged armchair ecologists feeling dissapointed about Project Isabella.You guys are fools. Let me get 250000 goats and let them loose on Yosemite National Park or any other natural park, to see if you continue to be goat lovers for long.

Sep. 05 2014 07:49 PM
LAuLau

Would people seriously be fine with the extinction of whole ecosystems because the goats are there? Stop being antropomorphic. This is what conservation entails in the year 2014.

Aug. 29 2014 06:56 PM
Beath from Eugene

Incredible reporting and insight.
Wow!
In regards to the goats hopefully they were butchered, BQ and served.

Aug. 25 2014 10:57 PM
Daniel from Ohio

The comments here are ridiculous. People have been slaughtering goats for thousands of years. The goat population control program isn't any different than natural predators which keep populations of herbivores under control (which didn't exist on this island, and is why this was necessary.)

Sterilizing hundreds of thousands of goats would not have been possible, and they would have continued to drive the local wildlife to extinction before they died. Is letting animals starve to death from goats more humane? Eventually the goats would starve to death too.

I wish the goats didn't have to die, but it was a bad situation.

Aug. 23 2014 03:19 AM
Adelia

Did Radiolab really have to go into gory detail about the goat hunt? complete with all the sound effects? Did we need to hear how the hunter cornered defenseless animals in caves? Do we really need gratuitous violence to fill time on what is usually a fine show? That's what it sounded like. No qualms were aired about this slaughter or the ethical double-edged sword of slaughtering species A to protect species B. Indeed, there seemed to be a certain sense of glee and adventure in airing the hunt, like it was some kind of brave and valiant undertaking that was really no contest for the goats.
As for the science and policy, there was really no other way? Was it ever considered?
These goats were literal "scapegoats". The most destructive animal on the planet is the human being and yet we engage in cruel and often ineffective eradication programs of other species in the name of conserving what we are destroying in the first place.
I suggest Radiolab do a show about invasive species and humans' poor efforts at managing them - and delve into some other ways it can be done besides slaughter. And definitely leave out the pointless details of the killing.

Aug. 20 2014 10:11 AM
Ever Heard of Birth Control via animal feed?

Wow. Just WOW. So short-sighted and idiotic. Ever heard of birth control?
In other places (http://600milliondogs.org/), they're putting food out for rampant urban dog populations that leaves the animals sterilized. Now, that is a Perfect Solution. Change the food to be goat specific, and w/ an average lifespan of 9-12 years, those goats would have eventually died out naturally.... DUH

Aug. 13 2014 01:50 PM
Jose from Virginia, USA

What I got from this story was that if we have, let's say Species A and Species B, and we see Species A is causing Species B to go extinct, and we know Species A can be found in many other parts of the world, we should just gather everyone in Species A and shoot them dead until we have wiped them out from that location. I think it's a wonderful idea, I know of one "Species A" that has been causing many "Species B" to go extinct, and there are about 7 billion of that Species A so it should be fine if we kill a couple millions...

Aug. 11 2014 02:52 PM
Hannah

I love listening to radiolab, but this particular show made me feel ill in the literal sense. I think all stories, particularly true stories, should be told…but the way in which this content was delivered was pretty horrible.

Aug. 08 2014 05:35 PM
Lisa M from Portland, OR

This is the only RadioLab episode that I have ever been offended/appalled by. The treatment of the animals described in this episode is downright horrific and cruel. I know that RadioLab is simply reporting events but this episode is incredibly upsetting. I wish they would have given at least a modicum of consideration to those of us who are compassionate toward animals and at least provided a warning at the beginning of the episode.

Aug. 08 2014 04:16 PM
Brad from WNY

When re-creating the Pinta turtle, let's not forget that the original Pinta turtle would have evolved on its own anyway. Maybe a little different, but probably very similarly as the species responds to natural conditions.

Great show! It doubles our desire to go there someday, but with a renewed respect for the islands and their inhabitants, - animal, plant and human.

Aug. 06 2014 10:19 PM
Andrew the practical from Nuevo Mexico

I see a lot of commenters are too squeamish to be environmental ecologists. Those goats are made of plant matter, literally. 100,000 goats represent a lot of nutrients that the environment needs to regrow all the vegetation that had been decimated. The best thing for the island and the tortoises is to let those carcasses be dispersed by scavengers.
Now, the truly humorous part of this is that some scientist will come along 2,000 years from now and say, "Look, goat bones! We need to restore goats to this island. It's getting completely overgrown."

Aug. 06 2014 01:55 PM
LMW from Toronto

I have never once commented on anything on the internet, but this episode, and the way that they dealt with those goats, was so horrific that I felt compelled to say something. I'm completely shocked that the producers of the show didn't ask why the goats weren't given to the people on the mainland. Surely, those goats could have provided milk and meat for hundreds of people. It was such a tragic waste to just kill them all and leave them to rot - I can't believe that in the eight years of deliberation over what to do about the goats that this solution never came up.

Aug. 05 2014 11:29 AM

Why didn`t they give the meat to the people? Most omivourus people actually buy meat in order to eat it -- even if you don`t care about meaningless killing from an ethical point of view - you should have a sense for business. They could have given it to the angry fisherman who should have had the right to sell the meat. Or they could have sent the fishermen to kill the goats - occupational therapy for unemployed fishermen... What a weird thing to leave 100,000 goats just rotting on the island.

Aug. 05 2014 05:08 AM
Matt from Madison, WI

Transcripts from the 2008 Turtle-Goat-Conundrum Conference, 2008.

"There are too many goats, people, and they're killing the turtles!"
"Don't forget the peasants over-fishing the native species!"
"Let's put lions on the island to kill the goats!"
"Let's shoot them from helicopters!"
"We need to restrict fishing, too, by the way."
"Hey, you can't restrict my fishing, my family needs food!"
"Shut up, peasant, we're thinking of how to solve this goat problem!"
"But couldn't I just..."
"Look, peasant, we're academics, so we know what we're doing. Shut your trap, and deal with not having enough of your "precious" food."
"Lions!"
"Helicopters!"
"Oh my, let's just compromise. We'll put lions in the helicopters. Shoot the lions in the foot, so they are still semi-mobile, then they can hunt a few goats, but will bleed out before they can kill any tourists."
"How much will these helicopters cost?"
"No price is too great for preserving our natural environment!"
"I'd be willing to work for pennies on the dollar to hunt these goats and feed my family."
"Oh, god, can we add Ecuadorian peasants to the list, too? Yammer, yammer, yammer."

Aug. 04 2014 02:06 PM
Emir from Arizona, USA

While I think the tortoises take precedence over the goats, it seems a shame and a waste to just shoot the goats. Didn't the podcast say that the scientists, etc., had taken eight years to come up with this as a solution? Did they leave the goats where they fell or butcher them for food? I just feel like there have to be hungry, poor people in the world, or maybe just goat farmers, who would have been glad to have these goats. Maybe not the cheapest solution, but one that doesn't involve such a waste of life. The podcast also mentioned what beautiful specimens the goats were; mightn't they also have something to offer genetically?

Aug. 03 2014 09:27 PM
Ana from Mexico

I made a mistake and commented on the Nirvana short. I loved this episode! One of my favorites so far.

Jul. 31 2014 02:37 PM
princessheart82

I feel very confused by all the goat supporters. It is not sad to kill invasive goats. By that logic I suppose you are all very worked up over the unfair continuing battle against, and attempted murder of, all the finch killing botflies in act 3?

Jul. 30 2014 07:04 PM
Joe Minnetto from New Paltz, NY

Especially impressive episode. Really enjoyed the inclusion of the Stars of the Lid tune.

Jul. 29 2014 11:37 PM
Sloppy from Stockholm

I'm happy to see that comments here range widely. I too had much trouble with this episode. The point of Darwin's discoveries there was that non of the species he found were originally from these islands, came there by various theoretical means, and evolved into "technically" another sub-species. So maintaining what is or was there by stepping in seems, well, wrong. What else is wrong is that Darwin believed that evolution is random and this is well known to not be the case. Genes do not change at all on there own. Their environmental signals can turn on or off genetic switches.

The one part I liked was that researched who wanted to introduce that not quite right tortoise species to the island with the philosophy, right out of evolution, that they would become the right species give or take. At least someone has the right idea there.

Jul. 29 2014 09:38 AM
Steve Zelman from New York City

I spent time time in the Galapagos in 1999; when I came back told friends they better get there soon as it was rapidly deteriorating due to human impact.
That is not the purpose of this message, though. I was dismayed at your dumbing down the program by clearly implying the Galapagos visit as having given Darwin an "Eureka" moment into the origin of species--evolution.this theory. it is well documented that the diversity of the species he saw in his travels ins South America was at least if not more as important, as was his experience in the rapid rise of land (30' in almost an instant) wrought by the earthquake in Chile that he witnessed. and while noting the coral formations in the Pacific Atolls.

Wouldn't it have been easier and more accurate to say that the Galapagos symbolizes and embodies in our consciousness the theory and its emergence. Your audience could handle that without you needing to have to go off on a tangent about this.

BTW, as to Darwin's fintches, it is documented that Darwin did not apparently recognize the significance of the different species--he did not label his specimens as to the island where they lived and after his return had to ask the captain of the Beagle, who did his own collecting and was more meticulous in labeling them, for specimens for hisf reference.

Jul. 28 2014 12:47 PM

Brilliant reporting. Incredible episode. Thank you for taking such unflinching care of this challenging subject.

Jul. 27 2014 09:08 PM
Marcela from panama

excellent episode

I want to understand something better. During the tortoise part it was mention that yale researchers found dna of the pinto tortoise in other tortoise (a percentage of it) and by pairing the ones with the higher percentage of pinto's DNA, in a couple of hundreds of years, the pinto tortoise may be revived.
But then during the finch section it was said that two different species won't pair naturally, it is a law of nature. Although it seems like its happening with finches.
The questions is, do species mix or they don't?

Jul. 26 2014 09:29 PM

I was unable to listen to this episode in its entirety. I found it to be "audio torture". Talking about the methodical killing of the goats and playing the sounds of goats.
It sickens me that man can makes these decisions to easily (in the name of the better good, or science)when it comes to the extermination of animals, animals WE often put in that predicament to begin with, but somehow we can't talk about the way we are overpopulating the earth because somehow we have given ourselves the right to procreate without limit (recall how we reviled China for the one child policy).

I am sorry, Jad and Robert, but this episode I could not listen to. It's disappointing.

Jul. 26 2014 05:29 PM
Brian Shea from Albany NY

In your story you mention a hypothesis about Tortoises being thrown over board, who then swim to shore. Tortoises cannot swim. They can walk alone the bottom of a body of water, and can hold their breath for hours. Maybe you were trying to simplify the story, but it is incorrect.
Thanks,
Brian

Jul. 25 2014 07:43 PM
keryx from Vancouver, BC

Just in case you were totally grossed out and depressed by the bot fly segment, there is a little more hope. Scientists have made cotton treated with a mild pesticide available to nesting finches. If a finch uses the cotton in building a nest the chemical kills most of the carnivorous larvae and saves the nestlings.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/galapagos-finches-combat-killer-maggots-with-scientists-help-1.2632652

Jul. 25 2014 06:05 PM

It has been such a disturbing episode! I can understand the benefit of the environment restoration, but the extermination looked like an old story: we always need to kill something/someone! (wasn't there some weapons manufacturer involved?) Humans are the only ones who deserve to die!

Jul. 25 2014 04:29 PM
Hexfin

Excellent episode. One question about the goats: did they leave the goat bodies on the island? Is the island just covered with goat bones or was part of the project to haul off the killed goats. Creepy.

Jul. 25 2014 01:53 PM
Mr Dan from Madrid, Spain

So here I am keenly downloading to listen to at home and I have a trivial contribution:

All the indigenous flowers on all the Galapagos Islands are yellow. (True.)

I seem to recall the suggested explanation was that all flowers needed to attract only one species of pollenating bee, and those that had a bit more yellow pigment were "brighter" in the bee's vision range, so generation by generation a yellow colouration slowly became the norm.

(Now to find out that it says so in the programme anyway, whihc would make me feel a bit of a fool.)

Jul. 25 2014 11:51 AM
Tim Reyes from South Bay, CA

'Read all the comments. Yes, I like Radiolab too. I pass on some stories and I don't have too much trouble with taking out 250,000 goats in 24 months but this story of the islands problems as material and as expressed by Radiolab was crap. If I'm wrong then take it the next step and travel to Gaza or Donbass and weave another story but change up your style.

Jul. 25 2014 03:51 AM
T. Faulkner from New York,NY

The invasive species are the humans not the goats! Who brought the goats there.?WTF, this episode pissed me off. More human idiocy.

Jul. 25 2014 12:14 AM

I truly appreciate this episode (longtime fan and contributor). I'm headed to the Galapagos with National Geographic in November and can't wait to explore the islands. Extinction is part of life...no? Let's be careful as we decide what continues and what (who) has run their course. Why are the finches more important than the flies? Do we give preferential consideration to the cutest? Dangerous and telling. Just saying...

Jul. 22 2014 09:34 PM
Marielle Seastrom from V.V. C.A.

"iTeam,"

If we look at the "problem" more closely, we can save everyone and everything on the planet, and they will help "us" save ourselves.

Thank you Radiolab, you rock!

Best always,

Marielle Seastrom

Jul. 22 2014 09:03 PM
John W from Royal Oak, MI

This was an excellent episode. My criticism (if that's what you want to call it) is that this subject (not to mention the time and expense I imagine was involved in bringing it to us)cries out for a second hour. You touched on some of the broader themes in the beginning but it just felt like the hour slipped away before you could really flesh them out. All of the stories deserved every minute they had so editing wasn't the issue. I was just left wanting more (not unusual for Radiolab, admittedly) and feeling that the constraints of one hour might have done a small disservice to the subject as well as Tim's efforts. I bet there's a lot of good stuff on the cutting room floor...if necessary, augment that with a couple related segments, sprinkle it with some more wise ruminations from Jad and Robert, rearrange the whole thing into a 2 hour show...call it Galapagos The Director's Cut or Galapagos Redux. Please?

Jul. 22 2014 05:36 PM
Greg Z

Great episode. Getting rid of the goats was a conservation victory. You need to visit the islands and see its biodiversity to really understand that. A video to give you a sense of that: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMBNsiHAQSg

Jul. 22 2014 03:47 PM
Yeti from Niagara Falls

Great episode, I especially loved the part where you describe the hunting of the goats. Thrilling stuff!

Jul. 22 2014 03:07 PM
PScientific

This episode makes me really sad and mad. Sadness in terms on how the human population has surpassed to protect themselves and madness through greed and selfishness of human nature rather than the environment.

And also, seriously? Why are people more concerned for the goats?! They are INVASIVE species! I rather see 250g's of goats eradicated than invading and killing the native species/plants.

Jul. 22 2014 02:48 PM

This episode was so sad, so thanks for ending it on a positive note.

Jul. 22 2014 01:55 PM
Me

Hey, Radiolab. I have been a fan for years and years. You are my favorite podcast. Ever. However, I would have appreciated one of your "this may be upsetting to some listeners - you might want to fast forward" message or similar before the goat annihilation started. Extremely disturbing and I'll never get those pictures out of my head. Please be a bit more sensitive in future. Thanks.

Jul. 22 2014 01:30 PM
Andrea Gordon from NYC / Galapagos

Darwin Animal Doctors directly saves animals in the Galapagos by providing free veterinary care at a permanent clinic. One of the services we provide is free spaying and neutering. This minimizes domestic animal and wildlife interactions, which can spread invasive diseases between them.

Check us out! darwinanimaldoctors.org

Jul. 22 2014 01:05 PM
William from the Mojave

I thought that restoration ecologists have pretty much given up on the idea of restoring pre-human ecosystems. Perhaps that is a difference in the fundamental approaches of restoration ecologists and conservation biologists. In the US the goals of restoration are generally just pre-European. That isn't because the American Indian populations didn't affect ecosystems; they were masters of manipulating ecosystems. They enlarged the range for American Bison to include parts of the midwest that would become forests, if allowed to go through natural succession without anthropogenic fire, by regularly burning the areas so they would produce herbaceous forage for ruminants, and that was primarily to increase the availability of this beefish meat source.

The idea that we need to protect the earth from humans seems silly to me. When viewed through a geologic timescale, the existence of humans is just a blink of an eye. Regardless of what we do, our species will go extinct in thousands, or ten-thousands, or hundred thousands, or (if we're more successful than I'd ever expect) millions of years. So, it's not worth fighting for the health of the earth for the earth's sake; the earth will go on without us with endless speciation and extinction. Instead, the reasons to be concerned about climate change and the destruction of natural spaces are humanism and romanticism.

If climate change, coupled with population growth, creates shortages, then it is likely to create violent conflicts, especially in third world countries (that's the humanism). A lot of people like natural spaces, so we should preserve some (that's the romanticism). Then, the question arises about how a natural space can be best preserved. Is it by using a native species on the brink of extinction or by replacing it with a close relative that could fill the same ecological niche.... and I've gone to far.

These are interesting topics! I enjoyed the episode.

Jul. 22 2014 02:41 AM
Ken Pidcock from Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA

Listening to the transition from tortoises to parasitic flies, I was reminded of a rather famous quote from ecologist Robert M. May (Phil Trans R Soc Lond B <i>330</i>: 293-304, 1990: <i>As one moves down the size spectrum of organisms, from the romantic large mammals and birds, through nondescript small arthropods, on down to protozoan, bacterial and viral species, not only does concern for diversity and conservation fall away, it even changes sign.</i>

Jul. 21 2014 07:56 PM
Dan from New Haven, CT

Just to note - there are still people eating tortoises in Galapagos, on the southern end of Isabela Island. This is still a very real threat to the stability of these populations and the tortoise species living there. In fact there have been observed localized extinctions of populations within the last 20 years primarily from hunting.

Jul. 21 2014 02:39 PM
Annie

Definitely sad, but an interesting story nonetheless. Wish you could do more hour-long episodes!

Jul. 21 2014 02:34 PM
Paul from Houston, TX

I didnt want this episode to end.

Jul. 21 2014 12:28 PM
Mike from Chicago

It blows my mind that everyone is supporting the stupid goats. These invasive species were eradicating the native population and needed to be dealt with. The only thing worse than the goats were the humans that want to destroy the environment too. It's a bit sad that the only way to deal with them was to kill them but thems the breaks. The violent fishermen and others like them, on the other hand, should all be locked in prison for their attacks.

Jul. 21 2014 11:26 AM
ruth from california

Excellent reminder that even the Galapagos are impacted by invasive species and pests. Powerful stories, great episode.

Jul. 20 2014 12:46 PM
Rufus Chaney

I am unable to download the podcast from here or from iTunes

Jul. 20 2014 11:50 AM
Kalopin from here

Galapagos exists because it was furthest away [and still near enough to the equator]from an impact by the Moon to the Mediterranean to start the Holocene era. Most monolithic structures were built during the Pleistocene when there was less gravity. This is also the reason for the extinction of megaflora and megafauna...

Please see "Pyramids in the Meltrock [Holocene/Lunar impact event]" at thunderbolts.info., http://able2know.org/topic/224693-1

as this may go against mainstream, there will be no other option but to admit this to be factual once all the information has been thoroughly examined.

Could you make a discussion about this impact scenario? Sincerely,
Thanks,
Tony Hood

Jul. 20 2014 10:25 AM
Max from New York

In Environmental Economics there are a few simple solution to these backlashes by the human businesses such as that of the fishermen. One was mentioned: change the economy into one that places value on the resource you are trying to save.

Another may work if there is no room for a tourism industry, such as countries that are dangerous or unable to adapt to accept tourists. The rich countries that value the natural resource pay the poorer country directly to protect it. It is a similar concept as the tourist example. With tourism, you incentivize businesses to protect the environment, this is great because it creates a lot of jobs and helps the local economy. When countries exchange money directly for environmental conservation, it becomes the role of the local government to protect the environment. This is expensive for the rich countries and the poorer countries' governments may have difficulty managing and protecting the land.

The goal, either way, if to give the resource a monetary value. If you value nature but are unwilling to pay for it, who do you expect to protect it?

Jul. 20 2014 06:51 AM
Tim Reyes from South Bay, CA

Hey I just saw the two of you on Colbert Report. Way to go, you joined the fraternity. And last night, I just listened to the whole dedicated hour to the Galapagos Islands. As Stephen would say, blessed their hearts. Often, I'll use a pseudonym to comment on Op Eds and news stories in high profile web sites. This time, not. I'm in pretty good company. This is a pretty messed up piece. Smokn' the Galapagos cactus were ya? Or I have been watching too much Colbert? The tragedy of what you described does not warrant instilling a Radio Lab entertainment value to it. I got it- things are pretty F***ed up on the islands but it doesn't work in this "Radio Lab" piece. All the tape should have ended up on the Radio Lab floor, start over or pass it to another program.

Jul. 19 2014 11:05 PM
Michelle from Freeland Pa

I look forward to the new Radiolab every week, but this one was awful. I couldn't listen to more than 20 minutes of it. Too too sad.

Jul. 19 2014 07:53 PM
Bonane from Chicago, Ill

Boy I love Radio lab but hearing about all those murdered goats and turtles made me a bit sad...

Jul. 19 2014 04:45 PM
Bob

"On average 50% of your DNA comes from your mum and 50% from your dad, but it varies" No its exactly 50:50, but not so for grandparents.

Jul. 19 2014 03:54 PM
Manuel Tomas from Half Moon Bay, CA

superb!

Jul. 19 2014 01:20 PM
Andy Drumm from Arlington VA

What a wonderful piece of journalism! Congratulations to all those involved.

The Galapagos has had a big impact on my life and its wonderful to see the spotlight focused so engagingly on the issues that makes it such a special place, and on the people dedicating their lives to keeping it that way.

The tourism industry has to assume considerably more responsibility than it has done to date, for its lead role in driving immigration, urban expansion and the introduction of invasive species if it is to aspire to the term "sustainable".

Jul. 19 2014 08:29 AM
Nikki from Louisiana

Wow. Mass murder to the exploitation of female reproductive organs, you guys really covered it all. I was shocked to hear the excitement and amusement in your voices. Way to go.

Jul. 19 2014 02:19 AM
Chase Wilson from Kirkland, WA

"In the 1970’s, a research group led by Peter R. and B. Rosemary Grant of Princeton University began studying these finches and discovered that after a year of drought on the islands, finches that had slightly bigger beaks survived more readily than those with smaller beaks. Since observing the size and shape of the beaks is one of the primary ways of determining the species of finches, these findings were assumed to be significant. “The Grants have estimated,” continues the NAS brochure, “that if droughts occur about once every 10 years on the islands, a new species of finch might arise in only about 200 years.” However, the NAS brochure neglects to mention that in the years following the drought, finches with smaller beaks again dominated the population. The researchers found that as the climatic conditions on the island changed, finches with longer beaks were dominant one year, but later those with smaller beaks were dominant. They also noticed that some of the different “species” of finches were interbreeding and producing offspring that survived better than the parents. They concluded that if the interbreeding continued, it could result in the fusion of two “species” into just one. So, does natural selection really create entirely new species? Decades ago, evolutionary biologist George Christopher Williams began questioning whether natural selection had such power. In 1999, evolutionary theorist Jeffrey H. Schwartz wrote that natural selection may be helping species adapt to the changing demands of existence, but it is not creating anything new. Indeed, Darwin’s finches are not becoming “anything new.” They are still finches. And the fact that they are interbreeding casts doubt on the methods some evolutionists use to define a species."

-Was Life Created? pg 21

http://www.jw.org/download/?output=html&pub=lc&fileformat=PDF&alllangs=0&langwritten=E&txtCMSLang=E&isBible=0

Jul. 19 2014 12:36 AM
Lisara7 from Florida

I'm at a loss of words about the goats. Was that the only possibility? 250,000 goats?

Jul. 19 2014 12:33 AM
Erin from really far from Galapagos!

Pretty wild! It is sad that humans have tainted every corner of the earth & I am glad there are scientists trying to preserve pristine wilderness or at least attempting to re-create a similar pre-human ecosystem... Very interesting podcast!!! (I love the get-it-on music for the turtles, by the way!!!)

Jul. 18 2014 10:15 PM

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