In natural selection, favorable heritable characteristics of a species tend to survive the unfavorable heritable traits, allowing for an enhancement of that species. This evolution ultimately influences survival rates as the species evolves to successfully meet its environmental challenges. The varied species of the Galapagos are perhaps our best evidence of this; and by protecting them, the Ecuadorian government provides anyone and everyone interested the unique opportunity to view Charles Darwins extraordinary theories of natural selection and evolution in real life.
The beautiful and protected Galapagos Islands sit 625 miles off the coast of Ecuador. UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, pronounced the archipelago that inspired Darwin a World Heritage Site in 1979. By 2007, UNESCO relegated the Galapagos Islands National Park to its growing list of endangered World Heritage Sites. Increasing environmental threats, including tourism, immigration and invasive species, continue to compromise this environmentally rich area.
On January 28, 2008, a gruesome discovery was made on the island of Pinta in the Galapagos National Park. Bodies of 53 massacred sea lions, including 13 pups, were found in a one kilometer radius, their skulls crushed from bludgeoning. There was no evidence of poaching hides nor parts; the scene belied wicked acts of murder. Killing for killings sake. Once again, we are responsible.
What would Darwin say about that?
Ah, the evolution of a species: the devolution of man. Where else in nature is killing for killings sake as rampant as in the human species? Life is expendable to us. We see it every day on television. We hear it every day on the radio. We pay money to see people die in the movies. We fight bulls, dogs, chickens and each other to the death for fun and sport. Our governments send troops, money and armaments to other countries to profit from the spoils of death when one party prevails.
Some may argue that, in fact, is natural selection: the survival of the fittest. However, the constant barrage of devaluing life desensitizes everyone: young or old, rich or poor, ill or well. This desensitization knows no gender, no race, no ethnicity, so the reprobate loss of life extends beyond our species to others entrusted in our care.
The Galapagos sea lions were not afraid of humans, often approaching them, as they have been protected and allowed to live as nature intended. They had no reason not to trust the person or persons who approached them, even as they began to see other sea lions attacked. Death had come to their protected place, in very ugly human form; and, being unable to maneuver quickly on land, there was nothing for them to do but weakly protest and die.
Darwin would be saddened that the human evolution enhances mans want of needless death on species that have been protected and groomed by human actions, allowing them to accept killers into their midst. Once again, man exhibits his propensity for disposable life. In concluding the "Descent of Man", Mr. Darwin declared that, in spite of "noble qualities" and "exalted powers", "man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin".
If only that were true.