The Galapagos Islands are a part of Ecuador and lie 575 miles off the western coast of South America in the Pacific Ocean. The islands are best known for their study by famed naturalist Charles Darwin.Know More
The group of 19 islands sits at the convergence of three major ocean currents and the Nazca, Cocos and Pacific tectonic plates. These act as sources of significant geological upheaval which formed the unique layout of the archipelago. The potential for geological study was the primary reason Charles Darwin, a geologist by education, sailed to the Galapagos on HMS Beagle in 1839.
The Galapagos Islands are densely populated with plant and animal life, many varieties of which are endemic to the islands. Such species include giant tortoises, daisy trees, land and marine iguanas and flightless cormorants. The Galapagos are even home to the northernmost documented species of penguins in the world. Because of the significant biodiversity and high percentage of endemic species in the Galapagos, it has been a focal point of conservation efforts.
Also present on the islands during Darwin’s expedition were a variety of finches. Darwin noted subtle differences between groups of finches on different islands that made them better suited to their unique environment. He hypothesized that such advantageous adaptations were “naturally selected” for over many generations. These observations led to the publishing and popularization of his "Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection."Learn more about South America
Peru is the third largest country in South America, with a total population of 27,947,000. Peru contains three distinct geographical regions: the coast in the western part of the country, the Andean highlands in central Peru and the Amazon rain forest in the eastern half of the country.Full Answer >
Argentina, the world's eighth largest country, is the second largest in South America. One third of it 40 million inhabitants live in its capital, Buenos Aires. Originally known as Rio de la Plata, Argentina was first labeled as such in a 1536 atlas, after the Latin word for silver.Full Answer >
Paraguay is a country located in the center of South America; it is bordered by Bolivia, Brazil and Argentina. Paraguay is a landlocked country; the only other landlocked country in South America is Bolivia. As of 2013, the country had one of the highest rates of economic growth in South America. It had a population of 6.8 million in 2013.Full Answer >
By size, South America is the fourth largest continent. It covers 12 percent of the land on Earth. South America is almost seven million square miles in land area.Full Answer >