An isolated cumulonimbus (an extremelydense,verticallydevelopedcumuluswith a lowdarkbaseandfluffymassesthatextend to greatheights,usuallyproducingheavyrains,thunderstorms, or hailstorms) overshoots the tropopause as we deviate around it at 37000 FT south of Panama City, Panama.
The only light source is the powerful lightning within the storm.
While Charles Darwin did not discover the Galapagos Islands, he is the name most associated with their history and recognition.
For it was Charles Darwin, a young naturalist, who came to the Islands, observed the plant, marine, bird and animal life and designed the intellectual premise known as natural selection or survival of the fittest.
His thoughtful interpretation of what he saw and recorded changed human thought and understanding of the world around us forever.
He saw continuity and coherency despite the diversity on each island and was able to merge these observations into a cogent scientific process that explains how life on earth evolved.
Darwin visited the Galapagos Islands in 1835.
Of his five-year voyage, he spent only five weeks in the Galapagos Archipelago and only about 19 days ashore, on the islands we now call San Cristobal, Isabela, Floreana and Santiago.
He observed, “the natural history of this archipelago is very remarkable; it seems to be a little world within itself.” Indeed, that statement is equally true 1½ centuries later.
During his explorations, Darwin noticed that while each island often had the same types of bird, animal and plant life, there were subtle differences in each of them.
He saw strange animals, unlike elsewhere in the world, but obvious familial relationships as well.
He wrote, “Several of the islands possess their own species of tortoise, mockingbird, finches and numerous plants, those species having the same general habits, occupying analogous situations, and obviously filling the same place in the natural economy of this archipelago, that strikes me with wonder.”
Photo: Darwin’s Finch by Mike Cornwell.
For example, there were more than 15 separate species of finches at that time and Darwin determined to make sense of that fact.
He concluded that each was closely related to the mainland finch, but had adapted to its new surroundings, undergoing subtle but distinct changes to allow them to survive and procreate in their individual environment.
Archaeologists have discovered two lost cities in the deep jungle of Honduras, emerging from the forest with evidence of a pyramid, plazas and artifacts that include the effigy of a half-human, half-jaguar spirit.
The team of specialists in archaeology and other fields, escorted by three British bushwhacking guides and a detail of Honduran special forces, explored on foot a remote valley of La Mosquitia where an aerial survey had found signs of ruins in 2012.
Chris Fisher, the lead US archaeologist on the team, told the Guardian that the expedition – co-coordinated by the film-makers Bill Benenson and Steve Elkins, Honduras and National Geographic (which first reported the story on its site) – had by all appearances set foot in a place that had gone untouched by humans for at least 600 years.
The dense jungle of Honduras.Photograph: Dave Yoder/National Geographic
“Even the animals acted as if they’ve never seen people,” Fisher said. “Spider monkeys are all over place, and they’d follow us around and throw food at us and hoot and holler and do their thing.”
“To be treated not as a predator but as another primate in their space was for me the most amazing thing about this whole trip,” he said.