Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace

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Alfred Russel Wallace

Alfred Russel Wallace was a Welsh geographer, anthropologist and biologist. He independently developed a theory on natural selection which forced Charles Darwin to submit his own theory sooner than he expected. Wallace is sometimes referred to as the "father of biogeography". Wallace wrote that, "every species has come into existence coincident both in space and time with a closely allied species," a theory much like Darwin's, albeit Wallace's lacked the numerous researched observations that Darwin possessed.

Wallace was one of Darwin's many correspondents worldwide and the two met very briefly. Darwin relied on many of Wallace's observations especially those on the Malay Archipelago. Wallace even requested that Darwin review one of his papers, titled On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely From the Original Type, because he trusted Darwin's authority and research on the matter. Wallace did use the term natural selection like Darwin did, but he did outline the frameworks of evolutionary divergence of species from similar ones due to the environment.

Some of Wallace's papers, unpublished by request, were published by Charles Lyell and Joseph Hooker together with some of Darwin's research on the matter. Darwin's papers and research ultimately received the priority of appeal but a lot of its foundation came from Alfred Russel Wallace's research. Wallace was not shocked by his lack of appeal, citing his gratefulness to be included in the presentation. Darwin's social and scientific status compelled him to receive the most attention while Wallace was kept largely unheard during most of the matter and it was likely that much of Wallace's theories would not have been accepted otherwise if not for Darwin. Wallace was granted greater access to British Scientific circles thereafter and soon after returning to England, Darwin and Wallace remained great acquaintances afterwards. One of Wallace's great...