(KTVI) – Charles Darwin may have been wrong about the way coral atolls are formed. His book 1859 book ‘On the Origin of Species’ established a theory of evolution. That theory changed the way scientists and pop culture saw the establishment of life on earth.
The book was based on his trip around the world on the ship “The HMS Beagle. He saw many diverse places, animals and plants on the voyage. One of those places was a coral atoll. These are ring-shaped coral reefs that surround submerged tropical islands.
Coral reefs are huge colonies of tiny animals that need sunlight to grow. After seeing a reef circling an island near Tahiti he came up with his theory that coral atolls grow as reefs stretch toward sunlight.
Reef-building may be more complex than Darwin thought. A new study in the journal Geology says that sea levels are behind coral atoll’s unusual shapes. The sea levels rise and fall with glacial cycles. So the shapes are based on glacial cycles not the sun’s movement through the sky. Meaning Darwin was wrong about the way coral atolls are formed.
Study: Geology Journal