Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913)

"...every species comes into existence coincident in time and space with a preexisting closely allied species." (1855)

Co-discoverer of the theory of natural selection and key player in the development of biogeography. A self-taught professional natural history collector who had spent years in South America and Asia, he began work on the species problem in the mid-1850's while in the field, publishing little-noticed papers that argued for the fact of evolution on the basis of geographical distributions. In 1858 he suddenly intuited the selection theory without realizing that Darwin already had done so, and ironically wrote to him for help in getting his ideas published. This resulted in the joint paper read before the Linnean Society and published that year. Throughout the rest of his life Wallace graciously gave as much credit as possible to Darwin, and the Darwin circle reciprocated by arranging a government pension and assorted honors for Wallace. Although he was less inclined to neo-Lamarckism than Darwin himself, he later argued that the theory did not apply to the evolution of man. See also Charles Smith's Alfred Russel Wallace Page.

Wallace in 1869. From Raby, p. 97.


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