Alfred Russel Wallace

21 Mar, 2013 570 Biology

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the work of Alfred Russel Wallace, a pioneer of evolutionary theory. Born in 1823, Wallace travelled extensively, charting the distribution of animal species throughout the world. This fieldwork in the Amazon and later the Malay Archipelago led him to formulate a theory of evolution through natural selection. In 1858 he sent the paper he wrote on the subject to Charles Darwin, who was spurred into the writing and publication of his own masterpiece On the Origin of Species. Wallace was also the founder of the science of biogeography and made important discoveries about the nature of animal coloration. But despite his visionary work, Wallace has been overshadowed by the greater fame of his contemporary Darwin.

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  • Steve Jones 22 episodes
    Emeritus Professor of Genetics at University College London
  • George Beccaloni No other episodes
    Curator of Cockroaches and Related Insects and Director of the Wallace Correspondence Project at the Natural History Museum
  • Ted Benton No other episodes
    Professor of Sociology at the University of Essex

Reading list

  • Alfred Russel Wallace: Explorer, Evolutionist and Public Intellectual - A Thinker For Our Own Time?
    T. Benton (Siri Scientific, 2013 forthcoming) Google Books →
  • An Elusive Victorian: The Evolution of Alfred Russel Wallace
    M. Fichman (University of Chicago, 2004) Google Books →
  • Alfred Russel Wallace: Letters and Reminiscence
    J. Marchant (Cassell, 1916) Google Books →
  • Alfred Russel Wallace: A Life
    P. Raby (Chatto & Windus, 2001) Google Books →
  • The Heretic in Darwin's Court: The Life of Alfred Russel Wallace
    R. A. Slotten (Columbia University Press, 2004) Google Books →
  • Natural Selection and Beyond: The Intellectual Legacy of Alfred Russel Wallace
    C. H. Smith & G. Beccaloni (eds) (Oxford University Press, 2008) Google Books →
  • My Life: A Record of Events and Opinions
    A. R. Wallace (Kessinger Publishing, 2004) Google Books →
  • The Malay Archipelago
    A. R. Wallace (General Books, 2009) Google Books →

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Auto-category: 576.8 (Evolutionary biology)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. In the reign of Queen Victoria, a young British naturalist travelled to remote parts of the world, collecting vast numbers of animals and plants in an attempt to understand where species came from and how they change.