By David Rains Wallace
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Additional resources for Chuckwalla Land: The Riddle of California’s Desert
Six Anti-Darwinian Lacertilians One reason why Darwin found the Galapagos Islands “very sterile” was that most of their terrain is recently erupted lava: “Nothing could be less inviting than the first appearance. ” He agreed with the Beagle’s captain, Robert FitzRoy, that the lava gave the islands an infernal aspect, making their swarms of blackish marine iguanas seem like imps of darkness on the shores of Pandemonium despite the big lizards’ inoffensive diet of seaweed. Lava flows are a feature of California’s deserts, and I can understand Darwin’s impression.
Is densely covered with impenetrable forests. On the eastern side of the cordillera, over the same extent of latitude, where blue sky and a fine climate prove that the atmosphere has been deprived of moisture by passing over the mountains, the arid plains of Patagonia support a most scanty vegetation. Darwin’s petrified stumps raised a basic problem of early nineteenthcentury science. Growing evidence, rock strata and fossils, showed that the earth had undergone vast changes. Rocks were not necessarily at odds with religious orthodoxy, which encompassed floods and earth movements.
Marsh’s sixteen new species manifested another reason beside back ward brains for the rivals’ lack of interest in lizard evolution. Whereas many of their early mammals could be traced through fossil links to familiar living beasts like horses, only one of the fossil lizards they found seemed to have a living relative in North America, the Gila monster of the genus Heloderma. The rest belonged to groups of uncer tain identity. ” The two paleontologists’ bad attitudes seem to have set the tone for early lizard evolution studies.
Chuckwalla Land: The Riddle of California’s Desert by David Rains Wallace