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subtitles added and redone by sixsnobs

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Hidden away in the vastness of the
Pacific, and undiscovered by men

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until only a few centuries ago, lies
a group of strange volcanic islands.

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Each is a crucible where evolution
proceeds at extraordinary speed.

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Galapagos.

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Each island contains its own unique
community.

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The discovery of these creatures
inspired an idea

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that changed our
understanding of life on Earth...

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Evolution.

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And today, scientists on Galapagos
are continuing to make

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discoveries that shed
light on that crucial process

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and have revealed that human
beings can be just as powerful

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a driving force for change as any
other factor.

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Something here was the catalyst that
produced the most spectacular

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explosion of biological
diversity in the world.

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It's not just the number of species
that appeared,

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but the rate at which they did so,
and the result is so extraordinary,

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it inspired the most important of
all biological theories...

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Charles Darwin's evolution by
natural selection.

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And now, 200 years later,
we're beginning to understand

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the deep-lying forces that produced
this biological wonderland.

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One of those factors is isolation.

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A part of Isabela Island,
the largest of the 16 in the

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archipelago, is so difficult to
get to, it's hardly ever visited.

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Wolf Volcano.

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Its giant crater lies
exactly on the Equator,

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and is encircled
internally by steep cliffs.

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And on its flanks,

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evidence was discovered
of a catastrophe that might,

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paradoxically, eventually lead to
the creation of a new species.

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This flow of recently solidified
lava

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has created an impassable barrier
100 metres wide,

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right through the vegetation.

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The fresh lava is razor-sharp,
and almost impossible to cross.

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On it lie bones.

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Bleached white by the baking sun,
they're those of giant tortoises.

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Some animals that got stuck
here are still clinging to life.

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Tortoises are tough.

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They can survive for months
without any food or water.

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And that worsened their fate...

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[...]
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