Alfred Russel Wallace

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Wallace, Alfred Russel


Born Jan. 8, 1823, in Usk, Monmouthshire; died Nov. 7, 1913, in Broadstone, Dorset. English naturalist who developed the theory of natural selection simultaneously with C. Darwin.

From 1848 to 1852, Wallace explored the Amazon River and the Rio Negro (to 1850 in the company of the naturalist H. W. Bates), and from 1854 to 1862, he explored the Malay Archipelago. On the Malay expedition, Wallace collected zoological, botanical, and geological specimens (more than 125,000 items), carried out craniological research on the peoples of the archipelago, and compiled dictionaries of 75 dialects. Wallace was one of the founders of zoogeography; he demonstrated that a boundary (Wallace’s Line) runs along the Malay Archipelago dividing the zoogeography of the Celebes Islands (Sulawesi) from the rest of the islands of the archipelago. Wallace thought (1855) that the appearance of each species is geographically and chronologically linked to the closest preceding species. In 1858 he sent Darwin the manuscript of his article “On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely From the Original Type.” In the article he proposed ideas that coincided with the theory of natural selection that Darwin had been working on for more than 20 years. Darwin presented Wallace’s article with a short exposition of his own theory to the Linnaean Society in London on July 1, 1858, and the society published the two works in its proceedings. Wallace coined the term “Darwinism.”

Wallace spoke out staunchly against Lamarckism; however, he did not understand the importance of mutation theory and Mendelism for the basis of Darwinism. Wallace maintained idealist views on the origin of psychic abilities in man and also believed in spiritualism.


The Malay Archipelago, vols. 1–2. London, 1869.
Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection. London, 1870.
The Geographical Distribution of Animals, vols. 1–2. London, 1876.
Island Life. London, 1880.
My Life, new ed. London, 1908.
Letters and Reminiscences, vols. 1–2. London, 1916.
In Russian translation:
Estestvennvi podbor. St. Petersburg, 1878. (Translated from English.)
Darvinizm, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1911.
Tropicheskaia priroda, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1975.


George, W. B. Biologist Philosopher: Alfred Russel Wallace. London [1964].
Williams-Ellis, A. Darwin’s Moon: Alfred Russel Wallace. London, 1966.
McKinney, H. L. Wallace and Natural Selection. New Haven, 1972.


References in periodicals archive ?
Martin Fichman, An Elusive Victorian: The Evolution of Alfred Russel Wallace (University of Chicago Press, 2004);
In his book Darwin's Armada, Iain McCalman (2009) argues that it's more than just coincidence that Charles Darwin, Thomas Henry Huxley, Joseph Dalton Hooker, and Alfred Russel Wallace all undertook extensive ocean voyages, the latter two going on more than one such trek.
An Inordinate Fondness for Beetles: Campfire Conversations with Alfred Russel Wallace on People and Nature Based on Common Travel in the Malay Archipelago.
He was writing up his theory in 1858 when Alfred Russel Wallace sent him an essay which described the same idea, prompting immediate joint publication of both of their theories.
John plays Darwin, aged 48, on the day he learnt that another naturalist, Alfred Russel Wallace, had developed similar ideas about evolution.
Chapter 3 looks at the lives of Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace and Chapter 4 provides a discussion of 'the ideas that have been advanced to explain how human activities that are readily identifiable as religious have been understood (p.
When British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace arrived in Borneo's jungles 150 years ago, one of his great hopes was to see orangutans.
After his famous fiveyear voyage on the HMS Beagle, Shropshire-born Darwin conceived his theory of natural selection, which he published jointly with Alfred Russel Wallace.
These occasions also directed the view of a wider public to the unjustly neglected figure of Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) (Figure), explorer and codiscoverer of the principle of natural selection.
Parts of the exhibition will be dedicated to the young scientist, Alfred Russel Wallace - who helped prompt the publication of Darwin's revolutionary work On the Origin of Species, which reveals Darwin's ideas on evolution.
Salvatore John Manna's resourceful piece, "A Brothers' Reunion: Evolution's Champion Alfred Russel Wallace and Forty-niner John Wallace," reveals the remarkable careers and touching relationship of the most famous living naturalist of his time and his brother, who was perhaps the most accomplished civil engineer in the Sierra and Central Valley.
Specifically, the reader becomes familiar with Society for Psychical Research (SPR) founders Henry Sidgwick, Frederic Myers, and Edmund Gurney, as well as investigators including Alfred Russel Wallace (coauthor of the theory of natural selection), physicist and chemist William Crookes, aristocrat and future prime minister Arthur Balfour, mathematician Nora (Balfour) Sidgwick, physicist William Barrett (cofounder of the American SPR), "cheerful cynic" Richard Hodgson (p.