Alfred Russel Wallace

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Pero ello no es obstaculo para que se pueda afirmar que Alfred Russel Wallace es, para el 1855, un consumado transformista o evolucionista que busca la solucion al "Misterio de los Misterios", que no es simplemente la tesis de la evolucion sino la necesidad de una explicacion de esta evolucion.
Whether they are enough to reopen a serious cultural conversation about the nature of nature, or will be quickly forgotten like the teleological arguments of Alfred Russel Wallace and Arthur Balfour, only time will tell.
This coming year, 2013, we observe the centennial of the death of Alfred Russel Wallace, the co-discoverer of natural selection and the man who put the peoples and nature of Southeast Asia into the imagination of the world with his The Malay Archipelago.
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. St George''s Day APRIL, 18.
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.
Darwin had been gestating On the Origin of Species for 20 years, but wrote the text in 13 months, anxious that he was about to be pipped to the post by Alfred Russel Wallace, who had also conceived of a process that Darwin would call 'natural selection', proposing that not all creatures had been created at the same time, nor at intervals, but through a gradual process of generic differentiation and selection under environmental pressures.
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.
If there are construction flaws in Parnell's articulate script--which seizes on the professional pickle Darwin (Cristofer) finds himself in when a nobody by the name of Alfred Russel Wallace (Manoel Felciano) anticipates his theory of natural selection--David Esbjornson's authoritative helming never allows them to surface.
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.