Dear Mr. Darwin,
I am writing this letter to inform you of the current status of the finches you were so fascinated with – what has changed since your visit, modern theories, and all of the currently identified species.
First and foremost, I would like to tell you that your works and studies on the finches have become the most closely tied to you out of all of your other various studies. Modern-day scientists have become just as intrigued (if not more so) with the drab-colored little birds as you were. They show a great promise in explaining how evolution and natural selection works, and could easily be considered one of the most important scientific discoveries in history.
Though the finches have not changed much in and of themselves since your last visit, much has been discovered about them that was not previously known. Although including all such discoveries in this text would be far too time and space consuming, I will inform you of some of the main changes below.
Although you originally grouped all of the various types of finches into four genera, many modern-day scientists have decided that there are in fact six different genera: the Geospiza, Camarhynchus, Cactospiza, Platyspiza, Certhidea, and the Pinaroloxias. In addition, scientists have identified 14 species of finches, and there may be more – scientists are still discovering things. Below I shall include a chart detailing the species in relation to the genera:
Common Name Genus Species
Small Ground Finch GeospizaFuliginosa
Medium Ground Finch GeospizaFortis
Large Ground Finch GeospizaMagnirostris
Sharp-beaked Ground Finch GeospizaDifficilis
Cactus Ground Finch GeospizaScandens
Large Cactus Ground Finch GeospizaConirostris
Small Tree FinchCamarhynchusParvulus
Medium Tree FinchCamarhynchusPauper
Large Tree FinchCamarhynchusPsittacula
Mangrove Finch Cactospiza Heliobates
Warbler Finch CerthideaOlivacea
Cocos Island FinchPinaroloxiasInornata
Although the above list is quite detailed, it doesn’t include all of the various finches… many are slightly different from the above species, but not so different as to count as a separate species. Many finches have similar coloration but slightly posses different beaks, or vice versa. It should also be noted that the above list only includes the finches discovered thus so far. There could very well be more finches that modern scientists are unaware of.
The new species and genera are all new discoveries, and it is not certain whether or not they are newly evolved since your visit or simply hadn’t been found by you. Either way, their discovery has helped the scientific world immensely in its attempt to understand evolution and natural selection.
To draw a conclusion to this letter, I must once again congratulate you on your efforts all those many years ago… they have helped to shape modern science, and have provided us with a greater understanding of the workings of the world. The world is indebted to you.