Alfred Russel Wallace OM FRS

Died aged 90

Alfred Russel Wallace OM FRS (8 January 1823 – 7 November 1913) was a British naturalist, explorer, geographer, anthropologist, biologist and illustrator. He is best known for independently conceiving the theory of evolution through natural selection. His 1858 paper on the subject was published that year alongside extracts from Charles Darwin's earlier writings on the topic. It spurred Darwin to set aside the "big species book" he was drafting, and quickly write an abstract of it, published in 1859 as On the Origin of Species. Wallace did extensive fieldwork, first in the Amazon River basin. He then did fieldwork in the Malay Archipelago, where he identified the faunal divide now termed the Wallace Line, which separates the Indonesian archipelago into two distinct parts: a western portion in which the animals are largely of Asian origin, and an eastern portion where the fauna reflect Australasia. He was considered the 19th century's leading expert on the geographical distribution of animal species, and is sometimes called the "father of biogeography", or more specifically of zoogeography. Wallace was one of the leading evolutionary thinkers of the 19th century, working on warning coloration in animals and reinforcement (sometimes known as the Wallace effect), a way that natural selection could contribute to speciation by encouraging the development of barriers against hybridisation. Wallace's 1904 book Man's Place in the Universe was the first serious attempt by a biologist to evaluate the likelihood of life on other planets. He was one of the first scientists to write a serious exploration of whether there was life on Mars. Aside from scientific work, he was a social activist, critical of what he considered to be an unjust social and economic system in 19th-century Britain. His advocacy of spiritualism and his belief in a non-material origin for the higher mental faculties of humans strained his relationship with other scientists. He was one of the first prominent scientists to raise concerns over the environmental impact of human activity. He wrote prolifically on both scientific and social issues; his account of his adventures and observations during his explorations in Southeast Asia, The Malay Archipelago, was first published in 1869. It continues to be both popular and highly regarded.

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Commemorated on 6 plaques

Alfred Russel Wallace 1823-1913 naturalist lived here

44 St Peter's Road Croydon, London, United Kingdom where they lived

Alfred Russel Wallace O.M. Naturalist 1823 - 1913 wrote The Malay Archipelago whilst staying in Treeps 1867-1868

Treeps, High Street, Hurstpierpoint, United Kingdom where they stayed (1867-1868) and wrote (1867-1868)

In this house lived Alfred Russel Wallace OM. LLD. DCL. FRS. FLS born 1823 - died 1913 naturalist author scientist educated at Hertford Grammer School

Wallace House, 11 St Andrews Street, Hertford, United Kingdom where they lived

Alfred Russell Wallace 1823-1913 Designed this building. He lived in Neath from 1841 to 1848 during which period he worked as a surveyor and studied natural history. In his lifetime he collaborated with Charles Darwin in the study of the law of natural selection, and with him presented the first paper on the subject in 1858.

4 Church Place, Neath, United Kingdom where they designed and lived near (1841-1848)

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

Alfred Russel Wallace naturalist 1823-1913 built this house and lived here from 1872 to 1876

The Dell, 25 College Avenue, Thurrock, United Kingdom where they lived