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Historic collection of naturalist Alfred Wallace goes online for the first time

16/10/2012 09:25:00

Illustration of a kingfisher from New Guinea by Alfred Wallace

Treasure-trove of writings and images by the co-discoverer of natural selection

October 2012. The complete works of the great naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace have been made freely available online on the Wallace Online website.

First announcement of the theory of evolution by natural selection
Amongst the thousands of pages of writings, it includes the first announcement of the theory of evolution by natural selection.

Wallace and Darwin
Since the scientist's death 99 years ago, Wallace's complete publications have never been gathered together. The new website is unveiled in time for the centenary celebrations in 2013 that mark the anniversary of Wallace's death in 1913.

Back in the 1850s, Wallace independently formulated the theory of evolution by natural selection during a fit of tropical fever. He later sent an outline of the theory - in one of the greatest ironies in history - to Charles Darwin. To avoid a priority dispute, papers by both men were read together at a London scientific meeting in July 1858. The event unleashed the Darwinian revolution whose shockwaves continue to this day.

Wallace has long been in the shadow of his more famous contemporary Charles Darwin. The compilation of this new website is timely and long overdue. It provides 28,000 pages of searchable historical documents and 22,000 images. They can now be seen free of charge by anyone around the globe at Wallace Online.

Wallace's contributions to biodiversity
Wallace spent four years as a collector in Brazil (1848-1853) and eight years in Southeast Asia (1854-1862). In addition to collecting an astonishing 125,000 specimens of insects and birds, Wallace proposed a sharp dividing line between the Asian and Australian animals in the archipelago. This line still bears his name today and is called The Wallace Line.

One of the most influential scientists in history
Dr van Wyhe, project director, said: "Wallace was one of the most influential scientists in history. But until now, it has been impossible to see all of his writings. For the first time, this collection allows anyone to search through his writings about Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, and see many of the birds and insects that he collected."

Dr van Wyhe holds a joint appointment as Senior Lecturer at NUS' Department of Biological Sciences and the Department of History, under Faculty of Science and Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, respectively. He is also the founder and director of the award-winning Darwin Online at the University of Cambridge, UK.

This project was directed by historian Dr John van Wyhe from the National University of Singapore (NUS). The Wallace Online project was made possible by an anonymous grant from an American donor.

Read the comments about this article and leave your own comment

Darwin stole Wallace's theory

Isn't it time that science and science writers stop pretending that Darwin was the be all and end all. If you do your history, it's plain as the nose on your face that Wallace sent his manuscript on Natural Selection to Darwin, who then proceeded to commit the scientific mortal sin of writing and abstract and putting his own name on the paper as senior author. Darwin was a medical school drop out on his way to becoming a clergy man which is what no talent rich boys did back then. He was on the Beagle as dinner companion for the Capt. All Doctor's on ships at that time were also the naturalists. Darwin replaced the existing Doctor as naturalist only when the Doctor left the ship, we do not know why?

Isn't time to stop genuflecting when we hear Darwin the liar, the thief, the man of no ethics or integrity name mentioned.

Besides this 'survival of the fittest' business has been actually turned around and distorted. Wallace's theory was not that you have to be the best or the first, just better than the guy behind you. One only needs to run faster than the last person. Darwin was again a privileged rich boy and this survival of the fittest theory worked nicely at the time in England for the upper class.

In reality, the earth and evolution is not designed for competition, that's what has driven this current 'I'll get mine and screw you attitude', it was designed for cooperation. This is proven daily by our very own physical bodies. Bruce Lipton has proven it as well as many others, epi-genetics is the new field.

Take the time to look into Jean Baptiste Lemarck, the environment is the driving force of evolution, whether it's the environment of air, water, food, thoughts, wishes or desires. Cellular biology proves this again and again, it's the environment the cells or we are in that creates the need to evolve and change. Not random freak accidents or being a victim of your genes. There is no such thing.

It's time science & scientists evolve their writing, their understanding and the lies they've been telling themselves for eons.
And yes, please get up off your knees.....Darwin is a fake.

His earthworm papers were nice.......

Posted by: Kim Hayes | 19 Oct 2012 14:21:48

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