The Galápagos Islands, part of the Republic of Ecuador, are an archipelago of volcanic islands distributed on either side of the equator in the Pacific Ocean surrounding the centre of the Western Hemisphere. Located 906 km (563 mi) west of continental Ecuador, the islands are known for their large number of endemic species that were studied by Charles Darwin during the second voyage of HMS Beagle. His observations and collections contributed to the inception of Darwin's theory of evolution by means of natural selection.
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