Biography of Wallace
I should like to take some one family to study thoroughly, principally with a view to the theory of the origin of species. By that means I am strongly of opinion that some definite results might be arrived at. It contains some remarkable views on my favourite subject - the variations, arrangements, distribution, etc. Alfred Russel Wallace : My Life, pp. Every species has come into existence coincident both in space and time with a pre-existing closely allied species. It is evidently possible that two or three distinct species may have had a common antitype, and that each of these may again have become the antitypes from which other closely allied species were created. It was while waiting at Ternate in order to get ready for my next journey, and to decide where I should go, that the idea already referred to occurred to me.
A life-changing friendship
In The Footsteps of Alfred Russel Wallace
His oddly spelled middle name was the result of a mistake at the time of registering his birth, which was never corrected. His place of birth was Kensington Cottage, which stands just across the Usk River from the town of Usk in southeastern Wales. The Wallaces, who were not Welsh, had been forced to move to Kensington as a measure of economy after Alfred's father squandered most of his inheritance on a series of poor business decisions. They had up to that time lived as an upper middle class family in Hertford just north of London. Supposedly, the Wallaces were descendants of the Scottish warrior chieftain William Wallace, of Braveheart fame. But, in fact, Alfred left home at such an early age that as an old man he said he knew few specifics about even his more recent ancestors. One of his typically speculative comments on this topic My Life, , vol.
Like Darwin, Wallace did extensive fieldwork; first in the Amazon River basin , and then in the Malay Archipelago , where 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 considered the 19th century's leading expert on the geographical distribution of animal species and is sometimes called the "father of biogeography ". These included the concept of warning colouration in animals, and the Wallace effect , a hypothesis on how natural selection could contribute to speciation by encouraging the development of barriers against hybridisation. Wallace's book Man's Place in the Universe was the first serious attempt by a biologist to evaluate the likelihood of life on other planets. He was also one of the first scientists to write a serious exploration of the subject of whether there was life on Mars. Wallace was strongly attracted to unconventional ideas such as evolution.
The Origins of an Evolutionist Alfred Russel Wallace , English naturalist, evolutionist, geographer, anthropologist, and social critic and theorist, was born 8 January at Usk, Gwent now, and at the time of Wallace's birth, Monmouthshire. He was the third of four sons and eighth of nine children of Thomas Vere Wallace and Mary Anne Greenell, a middle-class English couple of modest means. The older Wallace was of Scottish descent reputedly, of a line leading back to the famous William Wallace of medieval times ; the Greenells were a relatively unremarkable but respectable English family who had lived in the Hertford area for generations. Thomas Wallace had trained for the law and actually was sworn in as an attorney in but never practiced, income from inherited property securing him a life of leisure for the first fifteen years of his adulthood.