"... a most singular group of finches..." - Darwin, Journal of researches into the natural history and geology of the countries visited during the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle round the world, under the Command of Capt. Fitz Roy, R.A.
If you're going to the Galpagos Islands, finches are a good choice for study. Sea lions are not as portable. Giant tortoises live too long. Finches have that added advantage that they're not going to try to have you as a snack while you're taking notes.
Sure, Darwin noticed the gradation in beak size of his "finches" in the Galpagos Islands, but he missed some big differences. For instance, we could have had significantly more 19th century science fiction if he'd noticed the Vampire Finch (Geospiza difficilis septentrionalis), which feeds on the blood of other birds. Our own team of ThinkGeek Junior Ornithological Knowledge Explorers has, consulting the excellent research conducted by Drs. Marvel and DeeCee, discovered six new variations also evolving from the Tiaris obscura:
- a. super intelligence (for outsmarting Darwin)
- b. super beak (for eating stale bread crusts tossed by tourists)
- c. super eyes (for seeing through the garua)
- d. super limbs (for outmaneuvering the Vampire Finch)
- e. super speed (for visiting friends on the mainland)
- f. super squawk (for broadcasting the latest volcanic activity)
Six new finches sketched out in radial style with the subtitle "fig. 1 - Adaptive Upgrades" in white on a prairie dust (tan), 100% cotton t-shirt.