National Geographic : 1969 Oct
different islands, he came very close to formu lating the theory of the origin of species that he was to publish a quarter of a century after his visit. "Seeing this gradation and diversity of structure in one small, intimately related group of birds, one might really fancy that from an original paucity of birds in this ar chipelago, one species had been taken and modified for different ends." On our cruise around the Galapagos, we were accompanied by Edgar Pots, who once lived in the islands, and Carl Angermeyer, an artist and former seaman who settled on Santa Cruz Island in 1937. We were glad they came along, for many of the Galapagos animals are so perfectly camouflaged that they are difficult to see. The marine iguana, a solemn, shore dwelling creature (page 449) that dives for algae on the sea bottom, and his dry-land counterpart, have only to stand still to blend perfectly with their background. On Plaza Island Carl mesmerized a large marine iguana for us-a miniature dragon three feet long. Carl took it in the crook of one arm, where it lay peacefully, like a remark ably ugly baby. He stared it in the eye and made gentle passes over it for a minute or two in mesmeric fashion. After some moments Carl put it back on its rock, whereupon it snapped out of the trance and ambled away. Crab Picks Ticks From Lizard's Skin We must have seen at least a hundred igua nas at Plaza, both marine and land types. A large colony of noisy seals slithered over rocks made glass smooth by their endless passage. Scarlet crabs scurried across scarred black stones. In a quiet corner I noticed one picking ticks off a marine iguana, which rolled its eyes in contentment. On top of its head, Carl told me, this amazing animal-the only marine lizard in the world-has a rudimentary third eye, covered by skin. High overhead, some large birds flew past 483 (ODACHROMEBELOWI ANDFKTAC' c (F) TIAl c o^u,.