Blackwell Publishing

The rise of evolutionary biology - How did Darwin form his ideas?


Darwin and Wallace

This process provided Darwin with what he called "a theory by which to work". And he started to work.

He was still at work, fitting facts into his theoretical scheme, 20 years later when he received a letter from another traveling British naturalist, Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913). Wallace (pictured opposite) had independently arrived at a very similar idea to Darwin's natural selection. Darwin's friends arranged for a simultaneous announcement of Darwin and Wallace's idea at the Linnean Society in London in 1858; but by then Darwin was already writing an abstract of his full findings: that abstract is the scientific classic On the Origin of Species.

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