Friday, 19 October 2012

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


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 It provides 28,000 pages of searchable historical documents and 22,000 images.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.

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