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The Beak Of The Finch Report

987 words - 4 pages

Ysatis Hernandez

The Beak of The Finch

This is an exceptionally important and timely book for at least two reasons. In the

first place, it renders both the fact of evolution and the most powerful theory ever devised

for explaining it readily comprehensible to the general public. Secondly, Weiner's novel

provides a scientifically convincing repudiation not only of the claims of Creationists,

but also of the critiques of many nonconforming evolutionary theorists concerning the

sufficiency and continuing fruitfulness of Darwinism as a guiding conceptual archetype.

Theses objectives are achieved through Weiner’s ability to immerse the reader in ...view middle of the document...

They determined that Darwin's “hypervariable finches”, in

their secluded island setting, might very well present the key to a crucial break in our

knowledge of evolution. They began to acquire measurements on twenty-one assortments

of finches that could found on seven islands. The potential of the project became

apparent in a short amount of time, as the researchers discovered that the precision of

measurement and complexity of mathematical analysis allowed by modern technology

revealed a rate of variability unimagined by scientists until now. They observed “natural

selection” forcing a species to advance in one particular method until, when the

environmental disputes eased, “ sexual selection” took over and eventually brought about

a complete change in direction.

With this, Weiner implies that the Grants' labor greatly enhances our

understanding of the nature of the competition forcing both “natural selection”

and “sexual selection”. As he expresses it, their findings allow us to acknowledge

that "Darwinian competition is not only the clash of stag horns, the gore on the jaws of

lions, nature red in tooth and claw. Competition can also be a silent race, side by side, for

the last food on a desert island where ... the only sound of battle is the occasional crack of

a Tribulus seed."

Jonathon Weiner as well, investigates the extent to which those researchers have

shed new light or new ideas concerning the problem of origin of species. Their findings

validate how both of Darwin's procedures of selection interweave in nature to produce

those “invisible” boundaries that over time, result in the inability of members of one

group of organisms to breed with those of another. The Grants discovered that not only

do the finches solely possess variable beaks, but also that they are especially sensitive

to these variations. The result is that a small change in beak structure or size can have

harmful effects for the continued existence of individuals, and for their probability of

mating and reproducing. It was also recognized that finch size, and the distinctiveness

of their beaks, are all vastly heritable. Together, these three characteristics are able to

speed up the selection process noticeably, making...

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