Darwin Wallace theory of evolution | Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution by natural selection

Darwin Wallace theory of evolution


Alfred Russel Wallace [Pic: Natural History Museum]

Alfred Russel Wallace developed a similar theory to Charles Darwin

The life and works of the scientist who discovered evolution through natural selection at the same time as Darwin, are being celebrated in Cambridge.

An exhibition will bring together Alfred Russel Wallace's surviving collections from the 19th century.

Dr John van Wyhe, a Darwin expert at the University of Cambridge, calls Wallace "a fantastic scientist".

A R Wallace: The Forgotten Evolutionist is at Cambridge University Museum of Zoology until 8 February 2010.

Nature or nurture

Dr John van WyheA self-educated scientist, the work of Alfred Wallace, and his own discovery of natural selection, have been largely overshadowed by his contemporary, Charles Darwin.

Originally trained as a surveyor, Wallace's interest in science led him, in 1848, to leave England for Amazonian South America to begin a natural history collecting expedition, that took him to the Malay Archipelago.

I can have no fear of having to suffer for the study of nature and the search for truth

Alfred Russel Wallace, 1861

It was the plants and animals encountered in this area that helped to clarify Wallace's thoughts on evolution and natural selection.

Dr John van Wyhe, based at the University of Cambridge, and author of Darwin Online, maintains that Wallace is just as deserving as being the discoverer and author of that theory.

He explained to BBC Radio Cambridgeshire: "On what is now known as 'Wallace's Line', he discovered that on one side of a strait you'd get some creatures that simply weren't present on the other side.

Dr John van Wyhe is planning to create a Wallace Online website

"The environments seemed pretty much the same - same trees, same jungle... it was puzzles like these that led him to conclude that evolution had happened."

The theory

Both Wallace and Darwin had been working independently on their evolutionary theories for a number of years when Wallace wrote to Darwin in 1858 - from Indonesia, where he was working in the field - detailing his own theory.

This was a year before On the Origin of Species was published.

Belief in evolution preceded Darwin.

by 2ndKnight

Just as belief in gravity preceded Newton many biologists believed in evolution before Darwin. The evidence supporting it was obvious but theories attempting to explain it were inadequate. Darwin and Wallace provided a theory that has held against every test to date.
As with all statements in science a theory must be falsifiable. Creationism is not falsifiable and therefor cannot be part of science.

The theory of evolution has evolved.

by interestsci

Darwin's theory--> Neo-Darwinism (Wallace and August WEismann)--> turn of 20th century common descent accepted but natural selection was not accepted as sufficient for evolutinary change and missing theory of heredity-->Darwinism and Mendelism reconciled by Fisher, Haldane, Wright generalized Mendelism through statistical analysis to the case of quantitatively-changing traits-->1940s and early 50s, Dobzhansky, Huxley, Mayr, Simpson and Stebbins extended evolution: nutation and ntural selection accounts for long-term changes in the fossil record; how speciation naturally occurs in populations; selection observed to take place in contemporary natural populations of plants and animals

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