New Finch Species Shows Conservation, Not Macroevolution
by Brian Thomas, M.S. *
“Darwin’s finches” are a variety of small black birds that were observed and collected by British naturalist Charles Darwin during his famous voyage on the H.M.S. Beagle in the early 1800s. Years later, Darwin argued that subtle variations in their beak sizes supported his concept that all organisms share a common ancestor (a theory known as macroevolution). The finches, whose technical name is Geospiza, have since become classic evolutionary icons.
In the fourth generation, “after a severe drought, the lineage was reduced to a single brother and sister, who bred with each other.”1 Their descendants have carried on the family traits. The Grants reported in a study on the birds published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that “our observations provide new insight into speciation and hence, into the origin of a new species.”2 But the details show that this new “species” is just a variation within the finch kind, and is therefore irrelevant to big-picture evolution.
Genus Geospiza contains six species, and these are usually distinguished by the songs that the males sing primarily to attract breeding partners. However, if a father bird dies while his chicks are young, and all they hear is the neighboring song of a different species, for example, young birds can learn the wrong songs. When these mature, they sing the song of, and breed with, the foster father’s species. Other scenarios result in crossbreeding between Geospiza species. ……”
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