Please select which sections you would like to print: While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies. Wallace wrote over 20 books and published more than 700 articles and letters on a wide variety of topics. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. In this feature, Andrew Berry examines Wallace’s life. Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) was a man of many talents - an explorer, collector, naturalist, geographer, anthropologist and political commentator. His seminal contributions to biology rival those of his friend and colleague Charles Darwin, though he is far less well known. About the Wallace Website - the official website of the Wallace Memorial Fund. Wallace combined social reformism and quantitative arguments to undermine the claims of provaccinationists and had a major impact on the debate. However, he could not explain how or why they evolve. Text on this page is printable and can be used according to our Terms of Service. National Geographic Headquarters Like fellow naturalist and colleague Charles Darwin, Wallace traveled the world, observing and collecting samples of species. Alfred Russel Wallace, British humanist, naturalist, geographer, and social critic. However, what most people do not know is that another scientist, Alfred Wallace, a naturalist, a geographer, and a socialist, also deserves some credit for the theory. Januar 1823 in Usk, Monmouthshire in Wales; † 7. If no button appears, you cannot download or save the media. The project is directed by John van Wyhe, assisted by Kees Rookmaaker, at the National University of Singapore, with assistance from the Wallace Page by Charles H. Smith. Alfred Russel Wallace was born on 8 January 1823, in a cottage on the banks of the river Usk, half a mile or so from the town of Usk, in Monmouthshire, on a road that led to the village of Llanbadoc. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Photograph courtesy of Biophoto Associates/Science Source. Es la tierra que Alfred Russel Wallace exploró durante ocho años, desde 1854 hasta 1862. Alfred Russel Wallace, byname A.R. Alfred Russel Wallace’s most popular book is The Malay Archipelago. Jeanna Sullivan, National Geographic Society, Sarah Appleton, National Geographic Society Hereditary variants were thought to arise naturally in populations, and then these were either selected for or against by the contemporary environmental conditions. Wallace’s two-volume Geographical Distribution of Animals (1876) and Island Life (1880) became the standard authorities in zoogeography and island biogeography, synthesizing knowledge about the distribution and dispersal of living and extinct animals in an evolutionary framework. About. Although his education was curtailed by the family’s worsening financial situation, his home was a rich source of books, maps, and gardening activities, which Wallace remembered as enduring sources of learning and pleasure. Alfred Russel Wallace OM (* 8. If a media asset is downloadable, a download button appears in the corner of the media viewer. His research on geographic distribution of animals of the Malay Archipelago supported his evolutionary theories and led him to devise what became known as the Wallace Line, the boundary separating Australian fauna from Asian fauna. Several mammal, bird, and fish species are found in abundance on one side of the line and only in small numbers, or not at all, on the other side. Alfred Russel Wallace, OM, FRS (Usk, País de Gales, 8 de janeiro de 1823 — Broadstone, Dorset, Inglaterra, 7 de novembro de 1913) foi um naturalista, geógrafo, antropólogo e biólogo britânico. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Alfred Russel Wallace. His engagement with progressive politics and spiritualism likely contributed to his somewhat peripheral status in history. Corrections? 1145 17th Street NW group of similar organisms that can reproduce with each other. Alfred Russel Wallace was a naturalist who independently proposed the theory of evolution by natural selection. He traveled to Brazil and various islands of the Malay Archipelago that make up modern-day Indonesia and the Philippines, where he collected thousands of specimens of insects, birds, and other animals. He was also awarded honorary doctorates from the Universities of Dublin (1882) and Oxford (1889) and won election to the Royal Society (1893). Code of Ethics. A commemorative medallion in his honour was unveiled at Westminster Abbey in 1915. Though Wallace’s contributions to the study of evolution were considerable, they are often forgotten. Here Wallace read treatises and attended lectures by Robert Owen and his son Robert Dale Owen that formed the basis of his religious skepticism and his reformist and socialist political philosophy. In … Co-Discovered Theory of Evolution. In 1881 he was added to the Civil List, thanks largely to the efforts of Darwin and T.H. The first of these, published in 1855, concluded with the assertion that “every species has come into existence coincident both in space and time with a pre-existing closely allied species.” Wallace then proposed that new species arise by the progression and continued divergence of varieties that outlive the parent species in the struggle for existence. This may lead to speciation, the formation of a distinct new species. When surveying work could not be found as a result of violent uprisings by the Welsh farmers, Wallace spent a year (1844) teaching at a boys’ school, the Collegiate School in Leicester, Leicestershire, England. An enthusiastic amateur naturalist with an intellectual bent, he read widely in natural history, history, and political economy, including works by William Swainson, Charles Darwin, Alexander von Humboldt, and Thomas Malthus. If you have questions about licensing content on this page, please contact for more information and to obtain a license. Gina Borgia, National Geographic Society Wallace’s wide-ranging interests—from socialism to spiritualism, from island biogeography to life on Mars, from evolution to land nationalization—stemmed from his profound concern with the moral, social, and political values of human life. EARLY COLLECTIONS (1841 - 1847) Wallace started to collect natural history specimens, plants in particular, in 1841 whilst he was living near Neath in Wales. Wallace’s team and the ship’s crew spent 10 days adrift before being picked up by a passing ship, and all of Wallace’s notes and samples were lost at sea. After his brother William died in early 1845, Wallace worked in London and Wales, saw to his brother’s business, surveyed for a proposed railway line, and built a mechanics’ institute at Neath, Wales, with his brother John. Welcome to Version Two of The Alfred Russel Wallace Page, a website dedicated to celebrating the life and work of the English naturalist, evolutionist, and social critic Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913)! Living in London with his brother John, 14-year-old Wallace pursued self-education, reading treatises and attending lectures that formed the basis of his religious skepticism and his reformist and socialist political philosophy. As a surveyor, Wallace spent a great deal of time outdoors, both for work and pleasure. Wallace’s Line, as it was later named, runs from the Indian Ocean to the Philippine Sea. His formal education was limited to six years at the one-room Hertford Grammar School. Wallace received several awards, including the Royal Society of London’s Royal Medal (1868), Darwin Medal (1890; for his independent origination of the origin of species by natural selection), Copley Medal (1908), and Order of Merit (1908); the Linnean Society of London’s Gold Medal (1892) and Darwin-Wallace Medal (1908); and the Royal Geographical Society’s Founder’s Medal (1892). Wallace returned to England in 1862 an established natural scientist and geographer, as well as a collector of more than 125,000 animal specimens. He became known for his views on scientific, social, and spiritualist subjects. process by which organisms that are better -adapted to their environments produce more offspring to transmit their genetic characteristics. His paper detailing the natural selection mechanism was published together with writings by Charles Darwin in 1858, setting the basis for our … Select from these resources to teach your classroom about this subfield of evolutionary biology. Alfred Russel Wallace - Alfred Russel Wallace (8 January 1823 – 7 November 1913) was a British naturalist, explorer, geographer, anthropologist, biologist and illustrator. Sein offizielles botanisches Autorenkürzel lautet „Wallace“. Birthplace: Usk, Monmouthshire, Wales Location of death: Broadstone, Dorset, England Cause of death: unspecified Remains: . The Wallace family moved several times, from Inner London to the outer borough of Barking, to Grays in Essex, and then south to Dorking, Surrey, to the outer borough of Croydon, to Godalming, Surrey, then to Parkstone and finally Broadstone, both in Dorset. Wallace was a highly original thinker and was […] By 1855, his observations led him to the conclusion that living things change over long periods of time—they evolve. His engagement with progressive politics and spiritualism likely contributed to his lack of employment and to his somewhat peripheral status in the historical record. If you have questions about how to cite anything on our website in your project or classroom presentation, please contact your teacher. British naturalist, born at Usk, in Monmouthshire, on the 8th of January 1823. Alfred Russel Wallace: a rediscovered life by Michael A. Flannery, Discovery Institute Press, Seattle, Washington, 2011, 166 ff. Except for one shipment of specimens sent to his agent in London, however, most of Wallace’s collections were lost on his voyage home when his ship went up in flames and sank. © 1996 - 2021 National Geographic Society. This compromise sought to avoid a conflict of priority interests and was reached without Wallace’s knowledge. He was, however, a scientific superstar in his own right. | Aug 12, 2020 4.3 out of 5 stars 7 In writings and public appearances he opposed vaccination, eugenics, and vivisection while strongly supporting women’s rights and land nationalization. Wallace died 100 years ago this year. All rights reserved. Inspired by reading about organic evolution in Robert Chambers’s controversial Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation (1844), unemployed, and ardent in his love of nature, Wallace and his naturalist friend Henry Walter Bates, who had introduced Wallace to entomology four years earlier, traveled to Brazil in 1848 as self-employed specimen collectors. In 1859, Darwin published his book On the Origin of Species, which presented his theory of natural selection to a broader audience. Wallace, (born January 8, 1823, Usk, Monmouthshire, Wales—died November 7, 1913, Broadstone, Dorset, England), British humanist, naturalist, geographer, and social critic. After four years in Brazil, Wallace fell ill and decided to return home to England. Huxley. By George Beccaloni"...the main object of all my journeys was to obtain specimens of natural history, both for my private collection and to supply duplicates to museums and amateurs..." (The Malay Archipelago.Wallace, 1869). H.L. Thomas, though trained in the law apparently never practiced, leaving the family struggling financially and with unstable housing. In this way, subsequent generations either became enriched or impoverished for…, …Darwin’s colleague, the British naturalist. His formulation of the theory of evolution by natural selection, which predated Charles Darwin’s published contributions, is his outstanding legacy. Omissions? Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership,, Age of the Sage - Transmitting the Wisdoms of the Ages - Biography of Alfred Wallace, Famous Scientists - Biography of Alfred Russel Wallace, Alfred Russel Wallace - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). Sustainability Policy |  Although now rarely mentioned as the discoverer (Darwin, who discovered the theory independently, is usually cited) Wallace enjoyed a high reputation in his lifetime and received many of science's most prestigious awards. Alfred Russel Wallace (1823 - 1913) was a British naturalist, explorer, geographer, anthropologist and biologist. It signifies the unexpected distribution of animals on either side of the line. Alfred Russel Wallace OM, FRS (8 January 1823 – 7 November 1913) was a British naturalist, explorer, biologist and social activist.He is best known for proposing a theory of natural selection.This was published in 1858 together with Charles Darwin's idea.. Wallace did extensive natural history exploring. Living in London with his brother John, an apprentice carpenter, the 14-year-old Wallace became familiar with the lives of tradesmen and labourers, and he shared in their efforts at self-education. His lack of enthusiasm for organized religion became more pronounced when he was exposed to secular teachings at a London mechanics’ institute, the “Hall of Science” off Tottenham Court Road. Wallace died in his 91st year and was buried in Broadstone, to be joined there by his widow the following year. person who studies places and the relationships between people and their environments. Alfred Russel Wallace was born in Wales in 1823. Wallace spent eight years in the Malay Archipelago, from 1854 to 1862, traveling among the islands, collecting biological specimens for his own research and for sale, and writing scores of scientific articles on mostly zoological subjects. Privacy Notice |  Lived 1823 - 1913. British naturalist, Alfred Wallace co-developed the theory of natural selection and evolution with Charles Darwin, who is most often credited with the idea. Foremost among these commitments was an increasing engagement with spiritualism in his personal and public capacities. Alfred Russel Wallace (1823 - 1913) was a British naturalist, explorer, geographer, anthropologist and biologist. Nevertheless, he managed to save some of his notes before his rescue and return journey. Wallace’s research on the geographic distribution of animals among the islands of the Malay Archipelago provided crucial evidence for his evolutionary theories and led him to devise what soon became known as the Wallace Line, the boundary that separates the fauna of Australia from that of Asia. Eleven days later, according to the family prayerbook, he was 'half-baptized', and the full baptism took place at Llanbadoc church on 16 February. Though the family was regarded as a middle-class, they were just able to meet the necessities of life. The pressure of population growth Interestingly, Darwin and Wallace found their inspiration in economics. Wallace’s parents belonged to the Church of England, and as a child Wallace attended services. During that time, he gathered over 125,000 specimens. Alfred Russel Wallace, OM, FRS was a British naturalist, explorer, geographer, anthropologist and biologist. In the latter volume and in several articles from this period on human evolution and spiritualism, Wallace parted from the scientific naturalism of many of his friends and colleagues in claiming that natural selection could not account for the higher faculties of human beings. The resulting set of papers, with both Darwin’s and Wallace’s names, was published as a single article entitled “On the Tendency of Species to Form Varieties; and on the Perpetuation of Varieties and Species by Natural Means of Selection” in the Proceedings of the Linnean Society in 1858. change in heritable traits of a population over time. Join our community of educators and receive the latest information on National Geographic's resources for you and your students. to develop new characteristics based on adaptation and natural selection. He studied the languages and habits of the peoples he encountered; he collected butterflies, other insects, and birds; and he searched for clues to solve the mystery of the origin of plant and animal species. The theory of evolution is a shortened form of the term “theory of evolution by natural selection,” which was proposed by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace in the nineteenth century. In early 1858 he sent a paper outlining these ideas to Darwin, who saw such a striking coincidence to his own theory that he consulted his closest colleagues, the geologist Charles Lyell and the botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker. The two young men amicably parted ways after several joint collecting ventures; Bates spent 11 years in the region, while Wallace spent a total of four years traveling, collecting, mapping, drawing, and writing in unexplored regions of the Amazon River basin. These won him acclaim from the Royal Geographical Society, which helped to fund his next collecting venture, in the Malay Archipelago. For approximately 8 of the next 10 years, Wallace surveyed and mapped in Bedfordshire and then in Wales. Alfred Russel Wallace, eminent naturalist and codiscoverer of the principle of natural selection, was a major participant in the antivaccination campaigns in late 19th-century England. Michael Flannery is Professor and Associate Director for Historical Collections at the Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences, University of Alabama, Birmingham, Alabama in the U.S.A. Alfred Russel Wallace discovered the concept of evolution by natural selection. Updates? He even weighed in on the debate as to whether or not life could exist on Mars. What touched those who knew him was his compassion, his humanness and sympathy, and his lack of pretense or acquired pride. Alfred Russel Wallace’s career eludes simple description. The links to the left connect you to various kinds of information on one of the most fascinating figures in the history of science. Alfred Russel Wallace’s formal education was limited to six years at a one-room grammar school in Hertford, England. You cannot download interactives. This educational website was created by Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture to mark the centennial of Alfred Russel Wallace’s path-breaking book The World of Life: a Manifestation of Creative Power, Directive Mind and Ultimate Purpose, which was released by the London publishing house of Chapman and Hall on December 2, 1910. by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace were the concepts of variation and natural selection. He even weighed in on the debate as to whether or not life could exist on Mars. Any interactives on this page can only be played while you are visiting our website. Charles Darwin and his observations while aboard the HMS Beagle, changed the understanding of evolution on Earth. Although he applied for several jobs, Wallace never held a permanent position. The three men decided to present two extracts of Darwin’s previous writings, along with Wallace’s paper, to the Linnean Society. The eighth of nine children born to Thomas Vere Wallace and Mary Anne Greenell, Alfred Russel Wallace grew up in modest circumstances in rural Wales and then in Hertford, Hertfordshire, England. This site is dedicated to the life and work of Alfred Russel Wallace (1823 - 1913), one of the greatest scientists of all time. Wallace and Bates participated in the culture of natural history collecting, honing practical skills to identify, collect, and send back to England biological objects that were highly valued in the flourishing trade in natural specimens. Intelligent Evolution: How Alfred Russel Wallace's World of Life Challenged Darwinism by Michael A. Flannery , Alfred Russel Wallace , et al. The theory of evolution by natural selection became known as Darwin’s theory. For information on user permissions, please read our Terms of Service. He married Annie Mitten (1848–1914), with whom he raised three children (Herbert died at age 4, whereas Violet and William survived their father), published a highly successful narrative of his journey, The Malay Archipelago: The Land of the Orang-Utan, and the Bird of Paradise (1869), and wrote Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection (1870). a group of closely scattered islands in a large body of water. When you reach out to him or her, you will need the page title, URL, and the date you accessed the resource. However, what he is best known for is his work on the theory of natural selection. New tax laws (Tithe Commutation Act, 1836) and the division of public land among landowners (General Enclosures Act, 1845) created a demand for accurate surveys and maps of farmlands, public lands, and parishes, as surveys and maps made according to regulations were legal documents in executing these laws. animal with hair that gives birth to live offspring. Alfred Russel Wallace is far from a household name, but he changed the world. For the ninth edition of Encyclopædia Britannica (1875–89), he wrote the article “Acclimatisation” (adaptation) and the animal life section of the article “Distribution.” He also lectured in the British Isles and in the United States and traveled on the European continent. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited. In 1858, he sent Darwin a letter outlining his ideas about evolution. She or he will best know the preferred format. individual organism that is a typical example of its classification. Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions. Alfred Russel Wallace may not be well known outside the scientific community, but his contributions to the theory of evolution were invaluable to Charles Darwin.In fact, Wallace and Darwin collaborated on the idea of natural selection and presented their findings jointly to the Linnean Society in … Among these were two extraordinary articles dealing with the origin of new species. When most of us think about natural selection, we attribute that theory to naturalist Charles Darwin. Wallace Online is the first complete edition of the writings of Alfred Russel Wallace, including the first compilation of his specimens and the only way to search all of his publications with a powerful search engine. In 1837 Wallace became an apprentice in the surveying business of his eldest brother, William. 30 talking about this. person who studies the natural history or natural development of organisms and the environment. Female mammals produce milk to feed their offspring. In fact, Alfred Russel Wallace, another British naturalist, was a co-discoverer of the theory — though Darwin has gotten most of the credit. Most famously, he had the revolutionary idea of evolution by natural selection entirely independently of Charles Darwin. Biology, Earth Science, Geography, Physical Geography. His formulation of the theory of evolution by natural selection, which predated Charles Darwin’s published contributions, is his outstanding legacy, but it was just one of many controversial issues he studied and wrote about during his lifetime. However, what he is best known for is his work on the theory of natural selection. Wallace’s detailed observations of their habits are recorded in one of his first writing efforts, an essay on “the South Wales Farmer,” which is reproduced in his autobiography. Then, in 1858, while still in Southeast Asia, he became ill again. Natural selection explains how genetic traits of a species may change over time. Wallace published 21 books, and the list of his articles, essays, and letters in periodicals contains more than 700 items. Alfred Russel Wallace visited Sumatra only once and stayed a relatively short time, from November 1861 to January 1862, which is perhaps surprising given that the island is massive (more than double the area of Great Britain) with, at that time, vast swathes of barely explored rain forest. The theory of natural selection was explored by 19th-century naturalist Charles Darwin. But in the mid-1800s, Darwin and the British biologist Alfred Russel Wallace independently conceived of a natural, even observable, way for life to change: a process Darwin called natural selection. Alfred Russel Wallace Biography, Life, Interesting Facts. He was keenly intellectual but no less spiritual, a scientist and a spokesman for unpopular causes, a gifted naturalist who never lost his enthusiasm for nature, and a prolific and lucid writer. Alfred Russel Wallace was born in Wales in 1823. Alfred Russel Wallace was born on January 8, 1823, in his family home of Kensington House in Usk, Monmouthshire, Wales. He was the eighth of nine children, born into a middle-class family. He has been described variously as a naturalist, a geographer, and a social critic. Alfred Russel Wallace's family had a rich heritage with the reputed Scottish warrior, William Wallace believed to be a forebear of their lineage.Alfred was born on 8th January 1823 in Welsh district of Llanbadoc. Wallace spent eight years studying and collecting biological specimens in Southeast Asia. He is best known for independently proposing a theory of natural selection which prompted Charles Darwin to publish his own theory. He died in 1913 at the age of 90. to adjust to new surroundings or a new situation. He was keenly intellectual but no less spiritual, a distinguished scientist and a spokesman for unpopular causes, a gifted naturalist who never lost his boyish enthusiasm for nature, a prolific and lucid writer, a committed socialist, a seeker of truth, and a domestic, modest individual. Washington, DC 20036, National Geographic Society is a 501 (c)(3) organization. In addition to his major scientific works, Wallace actively pursued a variety of social and political interests. The two collaborated on a scientific paper, discussing their evidence for natural selection and evolution. He became a public figure in England during the second half of the 19th century, known for his courageous views on scientific, social, and spiritualist subjects. Alfred Russel Wallace was born near the English/Welsh border town of Usk on January 8, 1823 to Mary Ann and Thomas Vere Wallace. He lost the profits from his collections through bad investments and other financial misfortunes. Wracked with a fever, he suffered hallucinations, but when the fever broke, the answer came to him—species evolve by adapting to their environment! His income was limited to earnings from his writings, from grading school exams (which he did for some 25 years), and from a small inheritance from a relative. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. From these he published several scientific articles, two books (Palm Trees of the Amazon and Their Uses and Narrative of Travels on the Amazon and Rio Negro, both 1853), and a map depicting the course of the Negro River. November 1913 in Broadstone, Dorset in England) war ein britischer Naturforscher. He later worked as a surveyor. He lived among farmers and artisans and saw the injustices suffered by the poor as a result of the new laws.