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No. 40: Jul-Aug 1985

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Galapagos Younger Than Thought

Marine stratigraphy, radioactive dating, and paleontology all point to the relatively recent emergence and biological colonization of the Galapagos. These islands are no older than 3-4 million years. The unique terrestrial life forms had to develop in less time than this.

(Hickman, Carole S., and Lipps, Jere H.; "Geologic Youth of Galapagos Confirmed by Marine Stratigraphy and Paleontology," Science, 227:1578, 1985.)

Comments. Several remarks seem appropriate here:

(1) The varied fauna and flora of the Galapagos did not evolve independently; viz., the bills of the Darwin finches are tailored to specific food sources (plants). Many species changed rapidly and in concert. (2) A recent Science article (228: 1187, 1985) notes that inbred mice often evolve different morphological characteristics very quickly. This observation probably applies to the initial Galapagos populations, which must have been small and inbred. (3) Harking back to the item on the Guadeloupe skeleton, the Galapagos display similar strata of limestone, beach rock, etc. Until now, the limestones had been dated from the Miocene to the Pleistocene, but according to Hickman and Lipps they must be much younger than Miocene. The Guadeloupe dates may also be in error. Caveat emptor.

From Science Frontiers #40, JUL-AUG 1985. 1985-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:

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  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987