The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time by Jonathan Weiner
The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time winner of the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. this book on evolutionary biology written for the layperson by Jonathan Weiner in 1994. The finches of the title are the Galapagos or 'Darwin's Finches,' passerine songbirds in the Galapagos Islands. The species are so distinct that when Charles Darwin collected them in the islands he thought they were completely different birds, and it was only when he was back in London in 1837 that the ornithologist John Gould revealed that they were closely allied, reinforcing Darwin's growing view that “species are not immutable.” The adaptations of their numerous species, in three genera, show diverging evolution to exploit several ecological niches in the rugged and dry Galápagos Islands.