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Sorting Finch Species


Finches discriminate between members of their own species and those of a closely related species based on song and appearance.

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The 13 species of finches that live in the Galápagos Islands evolved from a single common ancestor within the past 2 million to 3 million years. Although they may not seem to be all that different from one another, distinct species living on the same island generally keep to themselves and don’t interbreed. What keeps them separate?

This fun activity tests students’ ability to distinguish between two species of finches living on the island of Daphne Major based on how they sound and look.

Download the accompanying PDF worksheet for students to complete as they go through the Click and Learn.

Supporting Materials (5)

Short Film
Four decades of research on finch species that live only on the Galápagos Islands illuminate how species form and multiply. 
Film Guides
The following classroom-ready resources complement The Origin of Species: The Beak of the Finch. By following four decades of research on the finches of the Galápagos islands, the film illustrates how geography and ecology can drive the evolution of new species.
Classroom Resource
This classroom experiment supports the film The Origin of Species: The Beak of the Finch. Students collect and analyze data to learn why even slight variations in beak size can make the difference between life and death.
Classroom Resource
These two activities support the film The Origin of Species: The Beak of the Finch. They provide students with the opportunity to analyze data collected by Princeton University evolutionary biologists Peter and Rosemary Grant.
Classroom Resource
A text transcript of the short film "The Beak of the Finch" from the Origin of Species short film series.

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