Henry Walter Bates

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Henry Walter Bates FRS FLS FGS (8 February 1825, in Leicester – 16 February 1892, in London) was an English naturalist and explorer who gave the first scientific account of mimicry in animals. He was most famous for his expedition to the rainforests of the Amazon with Alfred Russel Wallace, starting in 1848. Wallace returned in 1852, but lost his collection on the return voyage when his ship caught fire. When Bates arrived home in 1859 after a full eleven years, he had sent back over 14,712 species (mostly of insects) of which 8,000 were (according to Bates, but see Van Wyhe) new to science. Bates wrote up his findings in his best-known work, The Naturalist on the River Amazons.

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Commemorated on 1 plaque

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This museum was first opened to the public on June 21, 1849. The collection was originally formed by the Literary and Philosophical society, and by it presented to the town. Admission is free to visitors, whether residents or non-residents whenever the museum is open. Henry Walter Bates, F.R.S., 1825-1892 and Alfred Russel Wallace, F.R.S., 1823-1913 These two Victorian naturalists, friends of Charles Darwin, have strong associations this part of Leicester. Bates was born a hundred yards or so from the site of this museum, and met Wallace when the latter was teaching at the Collegiate School just off the London Road. In 1844-1846, the two joined forces in our expedition to the Amazon in 1849. Wallace returning in 1852 & Bates in 1859, the year in which Darwin's “Origin of Species” was published. In 1858 Wallace discovered, independently of Darwin, the principal of natural selection as a key factor in evolution. Bates on the Amazon, discovered over eight thousand new species of animals, mostly insects, and it gave the first explanation of what is now known as Batesian Mimicry.

New Walk, Leicester, United Kingdom where they was