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Galapagos: Darwin, evolution, and ENT


  • Charles D. Bluestone MD

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Otolaryngology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
    • Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, 45th Street and Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15201
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  • Author's Note: Color photographs of the wonderful and incomparable animals seen while on the trip can be accessed online through the supplementary files. Thus, illustrations have been omitted in the presentation.


This year is especially important in the history of the theory of evolution; 2009 is the bicentennial anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin and the sesquicentennial anniversary of his publication, The Origin of Species. Darwin visited the Galapagos Islands as a young man, which greatly influenced his thinking. My son Jim and I had the good fortune to visit these islands in January 2009 and see firsthand what led Darwin to arrive at his monumental insights into the origins of life on this planet. I have described my observations and related some of this experience to the ear, nose, and throat, albeit with whimsy in several instances. Nonetheless, some of the adaptations in the animals on these unique islands may have bearing on my hypotheses related to the incidence and pathogenesis of otitis media in humans. It is hoped the reader will share my enthusiasm for the experience we had on these fantastic islands and tour them in the future. Laryngoscope, 2009

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