The Galapagos archipelago's uniquely diverse wildlife was fit to inspire Darwin's evolution theory. It's also a great place to study evolution at high speed, spurred by volcano-created island building. Species arrive from South America and even across the Pacific in numerous ways, like floating, flying, rafting as well as swimming. They adapt fast. Diversity is no less in the sea, where three deep currents meet, again unique.
The case of the famous Galapagos turtle species illustrates, like that of iguanas and spiders, why and how 'immigrant' animals adapt rapidly and diversely. The islands themselves go trough drastic changes during their life cycle, from dormant volcano to barren rock sinking into the ocean, always challenging its residents but becoming interesting for others.
However small, due to tectonic plate mobility the Galapagos islands are all different, also in ago and hence phase in the volcanic isle life cycle. Even regardless of arriving species, life thus has to adapt unusually quickly to every biotope. The near-absence of major predators often allows faster reproduction, hence evolution. Man's arrival in the 17th century brought new challenges and species.
The Making of David Attenborough's Galapagos offers an unrivalled and actually far more interesting view of the dramas that went into capturing all that footage. The way all the shots have been so calmly edited together makes the process look so effortless, but nothing could be further from the truth. There are broken helicopters and broken camera cables that threaten the whole enterprise and the grunting of mating tortoises that threaten to drown out Attenborough's pieces to camera. This Making Of programme also includes the discovery of a previously unknown species...