He was inspired by fossils of armadillos and sloths.
The journey of young Charles Darwin aboard His Majesty's Ship Beagle, during the years 1831-36, is one of the best known and most neatly mythologized episodes in the history of science. As the legend goes, Darwin sailed as ship's naturalist on the Beagle, visited the Galápagos archipelago in the eastern Pacific Ocean, and there beheld giant tortoises and finches. The finches, many species of them, were distinguishable by differently shaped beaks, suggesting adaptations to particular diets. The tortoises, island by island, carried differently shaped shells.
The Galápagos Islands are located 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) from the South American mainland but a world apart from anywhere else on Earth. The archipelago and its surrounding waters, located where three ocean currents converge, are famed for the unique animal species that piqued the interest of Charles Darwin in 1835. Decades later Darwin drew on his experiences here when penning his landmark theory of evolution by natural selection.
Just two weeks before he died, Charles Darwin wrote a short paper about a tiny clam found clamped to the leg of a water beetle in a pond in the English Midlands. It was his last publication. The man who sent him the beetle was a young shoemaker and amateur naturalist named Walter Drawbridge Crick.
Savage, bizarre, hellish and beautiful; the islands that changed the world. From erupting volcanoes, giant tortoises and leaping lizards to rarely filmed sites and creatures, Galápagos takes you inside this living laboratory of evolution.