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Added by Kenji on 25 Nov 2014 07:39
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Alfred Russel Wallace

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A fine introduction to the varied life and works of the great man
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Born at Usk in Wales, Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) was official co-originator of the theory of evolution by natural selection. Had he not written to (the better connected) Darwin informing of his intention to publish on his new theory, he would have had sole credit as the theory originator. Naturalist, explorer, "father of bio-geography", he was a wide ranging and politically active thinker: he advocated votes for women, land and wealth redistribution, and a fairer society. Returning from his first great voyage to the Amazon, his ship caught fire, he lost his whole collection of fauna specimens and was marooned at sea in a lifeboat for 11 days. Later he became an advocate of environmental conservation and vegetarianism.

In the Malay Archipelago he identified "the faunal divide now termed the Wallace Line, which separates the Indonesian archipelago into two distinct parts: a western portion in which the animals are largely of Asian origin, and an eastern portion where the fauna reflect Australasia."

He was a man ahead of his time, attracted to unconventional ideas. He rather blotted his scientific copybook when supporting spiritualism, but has been proven right on many scientific issues. He had financial difficulties throughout his life, but was awarded a state pension in recognition of his work. Kind and modest to a fault, he was content for Darwin to bask in greater glory. A great man deserving to be much better known! Recently he has been emerging from Darwin's shadow in books and TV programmes. Here is a collection of his own writing and books about him. Also some videos: do watch.


Alfred Russel Wallace website: wallacefund.info/wallace-quotes

Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Russel_Wallace

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