Darwin's finches

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Darwin's finches

or

Galapagos finches

(gəlä`pəgōs'), species of small perching birds, constituting the subfamily Geospizinae of the tanagertanager
, any of the small, migratory perching birds of the family Thraupidae, chiefly of the tropical New World. Only five species migrate to North America; of these the scarlet tanager (Piranga olivacea) has the widest range in the United States. It is about 7 in.
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 family. Not related to the true finches, this group of at least fifteen species is confined to the Galápagos Islands, except for a single species found on Cocos Island, about 600 mi (960 km) northeast. Their special adaptations to various habitats were important evidence considered by Charles DarwinDarwin, Charles Robert,
1809–82, English naturalist, b. Shrewsbury; grandson of Erasmus Darwin and of Josiah Wedgwood. He firmly established the theory of organic evolution known as Darwinism.
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 in formulating the theory of evolutionevolution,
concept that embodies the belief that existing animals and plants developed by a process of gradual, continuous change from previously existing forms. This theory, also known as descent with modification, constitutes organic evolution.
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; they are a striking example of adaptive radiationadaptive radiation,
in biology, the evolution of an ancestral species, which was adapted to a particular way of life, into many diverse species, each adapted to a different habitat.
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.

Geographically isolated and without competition from similar species, Darwin's finches developed distinctive anatomy (particularly beak size and shape) and behaviors, with each species exploiting a unique feeding niche. The bill is adapted in the different species for different purposes, such as crushing seeds, pecking wood, and probing flowers for nectar. The woodpecker finch, Camarhynchus pallidus or Cactospiza pallida, an insect-eater, holds twigs and cactus spines in its beak to fish out larvae in tree cavities. Darwin proposed that the Galapagos finches evolved on the islands from a single bird species from mainland South America. Modern methods of DNA (genetic) analysis have confirmed his insight. Darwin's finches are classified in several genera of the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Passeriformes, family Thraupidae, subfamily Geospizinae.

Bibliography

See P. Grant, Ecology and Evolution of Darwin's Finches (1986).

References in periodicals archive ?
Naris and beak malformation caused by the parasitic fly, Philornis downsi (Diptera: Muscidae), in Darwin's Small Ground Finch, Geospiza fuliginosa (Passeriformes: Emberizidae).
Nine species of Darwin's finch (all that occur on the island) were studied: Large Ground Finch, Medium Ground Finch, Small Ground Finch, Common Cactus Finch (Geospiza scandens), Vegetarian Finch, Large Tree Finch (Camarhynchus psittacula), Small Tree Finch (C.
The tree finches (including Woodpecker and Warbler finches) and Small Ground Finch produced more intact seeds than the larger ground finches.
Small Ground Finch had one of the highest proportions of samples containing intact seeds (Table 1), which were mostly small (99% with maximum dimensions of 0.
Medium and Large Ground finches seem to be more efficient seed predators and poorer dispersers than Small Ground Finch.
Everton FC paid their own tribute to the schoolboy with a tree planted in his memory at the club''s training ground Finch Farm.
Although branching diagrams show monophyly for five of the six Geospiza ground finch species in the book, none of the six nominal species was recovered as monophyletic in the original analyses: in Sato et al.
The smash happened as Tom Molyneux, 18, was driving along the M57 on his way to the club's training ground Finch Farm.
Andy Myers Big Lottery Fund's regional development manager, attended Everton's training ground Finch Farm to present the award.
JUST THE TICKET: Echo competition winner Anne Dolan visited Everton's training ground Finch Farm recently to accept her new Half Season Ticket from Phil Jagielka.
ACCIDENT: Karl Davis died at Everton's training ground Finch Farm TRAGIC: Karl Davis
STAR DATE: Everton Captain Phil Neville, below, joined in a coaching session with young people at the Blues' training ground Finch Farm ahead of the launch of The Everton Foundation