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On the voyage of the Beagle 1831-1836 Darwin collected and described thousands of animals and plants In South America he observed the adaptations of organisms to a variety of habitat from jungle to grassland to mountain habitats In the temperate regions the species resembled more closely the species of the tropical regions of South America rather than the corresponding species of the temperate regions of Europe For example in the grasslands of Argentina there are no rabbits however there are rodents that resemble rabbits these rodents are unrelated to European rabbits but are similar to other rodents in South America Moreover the fossils in South America are dissimilar to European fossils but have similarities with extant ie currently living plants and animals in South America Darwin was particularly intrigued by the finches on the islands of Galapagos which are located approximately 500 miles from the mainland of South America These finches although unique to these islands were clearly related to mainland species There were 14 different species or genera of Galapagos Finch and their bills were adapted for particular diets Darwin amassed these and other data including observations on variability in domestic animals for example dogs which had been brought about by generations of selective breeding As well as drawing on his own observations Darwin drew from the work of Linnaeus Cuvier Hutton Lyell Malthus and Lamarck In the hierarchial classificatory system of Linnaeus there is a tacit acknowledgement of relatedness for example species belonging to one genus have more in common with each other than they do with species belonging to another genus Linnaeus was a creationist - as evidenced by his egotistical proclamation God creates Linnaeus arranges Cuvier also a creationist was a comparative morphologist he described the similaritydissimilarity in anatomy of diverse animals Cuvier founded the science of paleontology and described the differences between the fossil flora and fauna in different strata of rock he observed that the more recent strata had
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