The human being after populating the Earth completely has created colonies to live in what he calls cities. We waste energy of all types, a capital sin in the wild world in which we develop as a species. The great global tribe has conquered everyone.
Just as the tribe live outside the global culture, there is an animal on the other side of the world which has also found itself alone.
In these shallow coastal waters of the Caribbean lives one of the few remaining populations of manatees in the world. The manatee belongs to the zoological order of the sirenians.
They are the only marine mammals that feed exclusively on plants, and for that reason they are sometimes called ‘sea cows’.
They share a common ancestor with the elephants, but the sirenians remained in the water. When, some 38 million years ago, the land climate became colder, the forests of marine plants receded and left them confined in just a few parts of the world.
They are slow, trusting, pacific and enormous, weighing up to 1,600 kilos. The largest sirenian, the Steller’s sea cow, was exterminated by man in the 18th century, and weighed 7,000 kilos.
To make matters even worse, their meat is delicious, which is why they have always been massacred. In the 17th century, the Dutch merchants sent up to twenty ships a year to Europe, laden with manatee meat.
Their docility, their low reproductive capacity and their delicious meat do not bode well for survival in the modern world.
Manatees for the moment they are still there, oddities marginalized from mammalian evolution.
In the Galapagos Islands, geographical isolation led to the colonising species evolving and adapting in unique ways, uninfluenced by what was happening on the large continents.
Not only the archipelago as a whole, but even in many cases each island, imposed its own rules on the new arrivals.
For those that can travel easily, such as the birds or marine mammals, this was not a problem, but for the land species it was a matter of life or death.
5 million years ago, these islands arose from the sea, and so have never had any contact whatsoever with the continent of America, which lies some1,000 kilometres away.
The recently-created volcanic soil received the first seeds and at some point the ancestors of this iguana must have arrived onboard a drifting log.
Here, they did not find much food. But, on the other hand, nor were there the legions of predators of the continent. So, despite everything, they managed to survive.
The turtles followed a similar process, and thanks to this marginal evolution they reached incredible sizes, with weights of around 200 kilos. Moreover, they developed into 14 different subspecies, some of them with notable morphological differences.
The geographical isolation of the Galapagos Islands deprived these animals of the resources available to the mainstream majority, but in exchange it accelerated the adaptation process, creating its own particular survival strategies.