Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell
Wallace-Related Research Threads
The following represents a list of well over two
hundred quotations extracted from the scholarly literature of the past few decades;
it is meant to provide a kind of survey of how workers have been looking into
and/or developing Wallace's ideas. As such it may simply be browsed, or searched
using the site's search engine or your browser's "Edit > Find" feature.
The list has been arranged, as possible, in
reverse chronological order. I should note that the contents have been lightly
edited to reduce entry length; almost all of these edits have removed references
to recent sources in the outside literature which are not further identified.
My apologies for this to the authors, but readers should of course consult the
original sources to get the full picture, often extending well beyond Wallace
studies per se.
. . . It is conceivable that floral mimicry could function to attract pollinators as prey for predators such as the orchid mantis, yet there is no experimental evidence of this. The orchid mantis, H. coronatus, is often described as an aggressive mimic, implying that this predatory insect mimics a flower and attracts insect pollinators as prey (Wallace 1877; Annandale 1900). This hypothesis was first discussed more than a century ago by naturalists such as Alfred Russell Wallace (1877) and Lord Nelson Annandale (1900) and was inspired by observations and accounts of single specimens. This hypothesis has never been experimentally investigated yet it continues to permeate scientific and nonscientific literature and is often assumed to be an established fact. Resemblance of animals to plant parts can function analogously to mimicry in cases of masquerade, where animals are misclassified by predators as inedible objects. The possibility that resemblance to plants can act as an aggressive lure rather than for camouflage has not been previously demonstrated. If the orchid mantis is a flower mimic, then pollinators should misclassify the mantis as a flower rather than as a predatory insect. As opposed to masquerade, where being misclassified as a plant part serves a protective function, floral mimicry should elicit an attractive response from pollinators. We predict that flying insects should be attracted to orchid mantises at similar rates to real flowers . . . --James C. O'Hanlon, Gregory I. Holwell & Marie E. Herberstein, January 2014. The American Naturalist 183(1): 127.
. . . As mentioned above, Wallace's work was by no means restricted to the problem of understanding the 'laws of distribution' for the biological world. But the weight of his contribution to this problem was and remains highly significant, and is recognized as such among biogeographers. It was in tribute to this aspect of his legacy that the term Wallacean shortfall was coined to refer to the problem of incomplete data on distributions of species. Moreover, while we now have much better resolution on species distributions than we did in the 19th century, it remains the case that our analyses can be sensitive to, or undermined, by the still partial and incomplete nature of our data on distributions . . . --Robert J. Whittaker et al., November 2013. Journal of Biogeography 40(11): 2212.
. . . Wallace challenged the medical establishment in regards to vaccinations and encouraged all to avoid such a dangerous treatment method that was unnatural or against the laws of nature and which was more important than any rule established by untrustworthy scientists. Wallace was joined by some prominent scientists of the Victorian age to remove the compulsory vaccination act and discredit the vaccine paradigm. He argued with the Journal, Lancet--a medical journal that would come to prominence in the vaccine world in the 20th century. The Lancet diaskeuasts noted that Wallace and his colleagues ignored large amounts of scientific data in arriving at their anti-vaccine conclusions--a stance noted in the 21st century with those arguing against vaccines. Little wonder that more progress in vaccinology was slowed and the next vaccine was developed in France and certainly not in England. Unfortunately such events would repeat themselves in the 20th century with severe consequences for the public health. The criticism that vaccines are dangerous and un-natural remains with the public consciousness and domain even in the 21st century . . . --Donald E. Greydanus, March 2013. Journal of Clinical Trials 3(3): 2.
. . . The adaptive significance of the zebra's high contrast stripes is one of the oldest questions in evolutionary biology. This topic has been taxing evolutionary biologists and visual ecologists ever since Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace first disagreed on the subject. Darwin (1871) started "the zebra is conspicuously striped, and stripes cannot afford any protection in the open plains of South Africa". Wallace (1891), however, suggested it was "somewhat hasty to declare that the stripes cannot afford any protection", and that the stripes may be "protective when the animal is at rest among the herbage". Theories regarding the fitness benefits of zebra stripes continue to be many and varied, including contributing to social cohesion, individual identification, assisting thermoregulation, providing protection from bloodsucking flies, and predator avoidance . . . --Martin J. How & Johannes M. Zanker, 2013. Zoology.
. . . How is it that the memes of poetry remained a strong presence in the life of Wallace but disappeared from the life of Darwin even though both men were very much involved in scientific research that led both to the same revolutionary paradigm of natural selection? Perhaps the answer to this question may be found in a famous clash between the two scientific titans. For as Himmelfarb has remarked, 'Wallace not only had the distinction of being the first Darwinist; he was also the first renegade Darwinist'. And the issue on which Wallace became a 'renegade' was hardly trivial. Whereas Darwin believed that the science of evolution could completely account for the human species, Wallace had his doubts. His 'little heresy' as he called it was actually not so little, for he questioned whether the science of natural selection could account for 'the moral and higher intellectual nature of man' . . . --Bryce Christensen, October 2012. Changing English: Studies in Culture and Education 18(4): 400.
. . . The first author who expected mimicry by light was Wallace (1878) himself, who erroneously supposed click beetles for firefly mimics. Nevertheless, their light is different and they also appeared inedible too (Harvey 1956). Cockroaches are fat and tasty, so the mimic is at the place. One mimicry by light (aggressive, Batesian-Wallacian or Peckhammian) is actually known (Lloyd 1965, 1984): Predaceous fireflies Photuris (and also Bicellychonia) mimic the flash responses of females of other, up to five different (Lloyd 1983) species, attract males, and catch them, often during flight . . . --Peter Vršanský et al., September 2012. Naturwissenschaften 99(9): 748.
. . . Background matching prey coloration and its adaptive features have been recognized by biologists for a long time. The related idea that prey animals can decrease their probability of being detected through behavioural features was already discussed by Alfred Russel Wallace. . . . It has been shown experimentally that background matching effectively reduces predation risk imposed by predators, for example, in fishes and birds. Preference for backgrounds that reduce the risk of detection has thus been suggested to be an important and wide spread strategy among prey animals to decrease their predation risk. It is also a common assumption that prey animals have been selected to actively prefer visually matching backgrounds. However, considering the popularity of this idea, surprisingly few experimental studies testing it exist . . . --Karin Kjernsmo & Sami Merilaita, August 2012. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, Biological Sciences 279(1745): 4192.
. . . After planting doubts about sexual selection as the unique explanation, Wallace (1868) associated sexual dichromatism with the nesting habits of birds in relation to the risk of nest predation. He considered that, assuming that (i) incubation attendance by either sex promotes cryptic plumage in open nesters, but (ii) not in cavity or domed nesters, (iii) conspicuous sexual monochromatism should be associated with cavity or domed nesting, and (iv) sexual dichromatism with conspicuous males and cryptic females should be related to open nesting (Table 1). Wallace (1868) offered support for the two last predictions by listing 23 phylogenetically related groups of birds (i.e. families or genera) with conspicuous monochromatism nesting in cavities or domed nests and seven families with bright males and dull females with open nesting habits. Wallace (1868, 1889) also predicted that because of the higher phylogenetic lability of plumage colour, changes in nesting habits would come first and be followed by changes in coloration. Darwin (1871) disagreed with this view and forcefully argued that plumage coloration could select for changes in nesting habits while the opposite was less plausible. In nearly a century and a half elapsed since Wallace first presented his theory on avian sexual dichromatism in relation to nesting habits, few attempts have been made to empirically check its validity despite the attention that sexual dichromatism as variable reflecting the strength of sexual selection in different bird species has received during the last decades (see for instance, Amundsen & Pärn, 2006) and the huge increase in information on avian natural history and phylogeny . . . --J. J. Soler & J. Moreno, May 2012. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 25(8): 1615.
. . . In this article, we tested some assumptions and predictions of Wallace’s theory by analysing plumage conspicuousness and dichromatism, nesting habits and incubation attendance of European passerines as described in Handbook of Birds of The Western Palearctic (HBWP; Cramp & Perrins, 1988, 1992, 1993, 1994a,b). We have also corrected for phylogenetic relationships in all analyses as nesting habits, and to a lesser degree sexual dichromatism, may show a marked phylogenetic component as already argued by Wallace (1889). According to the fundamental assumption of Wallace that incubation attendance by either sex promotes cryptic plumage in open nesters, but not in cavity nesters, conspicuousness in either sex should be related to incubation attendance, nest type and their interaction (Prediction 1). Moreover, the predictions by Wallace that conspicuous sexual monochromatism should be associated with cavity or domed nesting, and sexual dichromatism with conspicuous males and cryptic females should be related to open nesting, were tested by relating degree of male and female conspicuousness to nest type and sexual dichromatism. . . . --J. J. Soler & J. Moreno, May 2012. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 25(8): 1615-1616.
. . . The world 's terrestrial zoogeographical regions were originally outlined by Sclater (1858) and Wallace (1876), primarily on the basis of vertebrates, because their distribution records were the most complete at the time. Since then, the completeness of records has improved dramatically for both vertebrates and invertebrates, and although invertebrates represent a far greater proportion of total animal diversity, tetrapod vertebrates remain the best group for comparatively testing biogeographical hypotheses, with a comprehensive data set having become openly available online (WWF 2010). Specifically, where the world's biogeographical regions are concerned, it makes sense to test their accuracy using the same groups of organisms used to delimit them in the first place . . . --Şerban Procheş & Syd Ramdhani, March 2012. Bioscience 62(3): 260.
. . . During his student days, however, Meyer had also encountered the works of the British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace. In 1869, when Wallace published The Malay Archipelago, describing his travels and observations in the region from 1854 to 1862, Meyer produced an authorised translation, Der Malayische Archipel, within the same year. In 1870, he added two collections on the origin of species and the theory of natural selection, translated from original essays by Wallace and Darwin. On 6 July of the same year, Meyer embarked for Batavia (Jakarta) and by the end of September was stationed in Menado (Manado, North Sulawesi). Clearly, his admiration for Wallace's work influenced his decision to go abroad; indeed, Chris Ballard counts him as one among a 'wave of naturalist explorers' who travelled to the Malay Archipelago during the 1870s in Wallace’s wake, 'each bearing copies of his book and consciously emulating his earlier feats' . . . --Hilary Howes, March 2012. The Journal of Pacific History 47(1): 25.
. . . Most species remain undescribed and unknown. Recognizing and describing them is, however, just the beginning of a process. For most of the species already described, we probably know little more than some morphological characteristics and a few, if not a single, locality (as a spot distribution within an unknown range). This shortfall was named by Lomolino (2004) as the "Wallacean shortfall". Compiling good distributional data is the first stage of any systematic conservation planning exercise (Margules and Pressey, 2000). Without reasonable information of where species live, it is impossible to know which are endangered and where to concentrate efforts to preserve them . . . --Pedro Cardoso et al., November 2011. Biological Conservation 144(11): 2651.
. . .Wallace's Line demarcates the most abrupt faunal transition in the world. To a seasoned naturalist like Wallace, this unique juxtaposition of dramatically different faunas, first noted by Müller (1846), was obvious, was anomalous, and begged explanation; so it is perhaps no accident that biogeographic study effectively began in the IAA. The range limits of many terrestrial taxa are coincident with the eastern edge of the Sunda Shelf, and the taxonomic compositions of communities on either side are distinctly different. Wallace advocated geological explanations for these biological differences. He suggested, for example, that Bali and Lombok were formerly widely separated and had only recently moved to their present positions <40 km apart; he also noted that faunal discontinuities were associated with deep straits (Wallace 1860). Wallace first described the Line in an 1858 letter to H.W. Bates (Marchant 1916, p. 66) before he mapped the Line (Wallace 1863) that was later given his name by Huxley (1868) and expounded upon these observations in books on the IAA and biogeography in general (e.g., Wallace 1869). The veracity of Wallace's observations was debated because the existence of such a stark faunal divide seemed improbable, and this spurred intense study of distribution patterns in the region (e.g., Weber 1902). . .–David J. Lohman et al., August 2011. Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 42: 208.
. . . The processes governing the evolution of
sexual dimorphism provided a foundation for sexual selection
theory. Two alternative processes, originally proposed by Darwin and Wallace,
differ primarily in the timing of
events creating the dimorphism. In the process advocated by Darwin, a novel
ornament arises in a single sex, with
no temporal separation in the origin and sex-limitation of the novel trait.
By contrast, Wallace proposed a process
where novel ornaments appear simultaneously in both sexes, but are then converted
into sex-limited expression by
natural selection acting against showy coloration in one sex. Here, we investigate
these alternative modes of sexual
dimorphism evolution in a phylogenetic framework and demonstrate that both
processes contribute to dimorphic
wing patterns in the butterfly genera Bicyclus and Funonia . . . Our analyses
support both hypotheses advocated by
Darwin and Wallace for the origin of sexual dimorphism: some sexually dimorphic
ornaments arise concomitantly
with sex-limited expression, while others arise in both sexes but are subsequently
lost in one sex. Thus both modes
of evolution are applicable to the evolution of sexual dimorphism in butterflies
. . . --Jeffrey C. Oliver & Antónia
Monteiro, 7 July 2011. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series
B, Biological Sciences 278(1714): 1981,
. . .Wallace (1889) was the first to propose that cuckoo-hawk resemblance was a form of mimicry, which Wyllie (1981) suggested might aid parasitic laying by frightening aggressive hosts away from the nest. In support of this idea, hawk-like plumage, with cryptic upperparts and pale, barred underparts, is more prevalent in parasitic than in nonparasitic cuckoos (Payne 1967) and most likely evolved after the evolution of brood parasitism (Krüger et al. 2007) . . . –Justin A. Welbergen & Nicholas B. Davies, May-June 2011. Behavioral Ecology 22(3): 574.
. . . While there were
numerous previous philosophical treatises on the topic, stretching back
about the origin of the universe in ancient times, scientific proposals are
more recent. A well known one was
biologist Alfred Russell Wallace, who wrote in 1904: "Such a vast and
complex universe as that which we know
exists around us, may have been absolutely required . . . in order to produce
a world that should be precisely adapted
in every detail for the orderly development of life culminating in man".
But that was before modern cosmology was
established; the idea of the expanding and evolving universe was yet to come
. . . --George Ellis, 13 May 2011. General Relativity and Gravitation 43(11): 3213.
This brings us back to the
Popp. et al. analysis of Empetrum. Their dating analysis shows
that the relevant phylogenetic splits do not date to the Jurassic--not even
close. Instead, they probably happened in
the Pleistocene less than 1 Mya. We can, therefore, immediately rule out
ancient vicariance, but it is not quite as
easy to choose between a Darwin or a Wallace migration scenario and the long-distance
dispersal favored by Popp
et al. As Popp et al. point out, Empetrum is not currently known along
the Andes, and its distinctive pollen grains
have never been found there. However, as Wallace (1880) argued, this does
not entirely rule out that they passed
through the Andes and then disappeared as suitable habits shrank . . . --Michael
J. Donoghue, 19 April 2011. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
of the United States of America 108: 6341-6342.
. . . Although theories of animal colouration were developed principally in regard to terrestrial species (Wallace 1879; Poulton 1890; Cott 1940; Edmunds 1974), from early on they were applied to aquatic species too (e.g., Wallace 1889; Beddard 1895; Longley 1916, 1917). Nonetheless, colouration of aquatic organisms is subject to different selection pressures than those operating on land because scattering of light in water leads to an unchanging angular distribution of light direction; light only penetrates surface waters, the extent to which additionally depends on turbidity; light may be refracted at the surface; and species that use the water column may be viewed by prey, predators or conspecifics from almost any angle (Lythgoe 1987; Marshall 2000; Hanlon et al. 2009; Zylinski et al. 2009). These properties favour certain mechanisms of crypsis including transparency, counter illumination and countershading (Johnsen 2011; Johnsen et al. 2004; Ruxton et al. 2004) . . . –Tim Caro et al., April 2011. Evolutionary Ecology 25(6): 1232.
. . . More than 130 years on, the
biogeographic scheme of Sclater and Wallace continues to form a basis for
continental-scale geographic comparison of mammalian communities. Any observer
of modern Africa can quickly
recognize the stark ecological boundary delimited by the Sahara Desert, with
the vast diversity of African-endemic
taxa restricted to regions to its south. With almost no African fossil record
to consult, scientists of the 19th and early
20th centuries could only speculate on the age or historical development
of this continent's biogeography. In
contrast, the last 100 years of paleontological exploration have provided
a wealth of information that allows for an
investigation into the developmental history of African endemism as a whole,
and the Ethiopian biogeography realm
in particular. Wallace's proposal of "long epochs" of isolating
barriers can now be more precisely formulated and
addressed . . . --Faysal Bibi, February 2011. PloS One 6(2):
. . . Wallace noted the problem of incipient evolutionary stages. He argued that incipient and intermediate stages might have little selective survival advantage, as with a partially developed wing; yet evolution progressed to new forms and greater complexity as if teleologically guided. Wallace thus predicted the problem of "irreducible complexity" (Behe, 2004). A group composed of Paleo-anthropologists and Linguists similarly argued that the physical and cognitive articulations required for human speech are so sophisticated that it is difficult to imagine intermediary systems (Picq et al., 2008). They described as a Neo-Darwinian tautology the argument that if a human feature existed, then it must be adaptive, otherwise it would not have survived. This is a form of Panglossian, overly-optimistic), post-hoc reasoning . . . --Michael M. DelMonte, January 2011. The International Journal of Healing and Caring 11(1).
. . . the evolution of longer floral tubes forced the evolution of longer insect proboscides, which in turn forced the selection for even longer floral tubes. Wallace (1867) noted that this positive feedback system would continue generating longer and longer traits until it is balanced by an opposing selective pressure. Although he did not elaborate much on opposing selective pressures, Wallace (1867) implied that proboscis and tube lengthening would only be advantageous to a point, after which increased length may become a liability (e.g. Harder 1983; Kunte 2007). Insects with excessively long proboscides may have difficulty maneuvering them and inserting them accurately into the narrow gullets of flowers (e.g. Harder 1983) . . . --Allan G. Ellis & Bruce Anderson, 2011. In Sébastien Patiny, ed., Evolution of Plant-Pollinator Relationships (Cambridge University Press): 237-262.
. . . Inspired
by evolutionary computation, artificial life, multi-agent systems and social
cognition, we develop a
more realistic distribution of environments. The basic idea is straightforward:
intelligence is the result of evolution
through millions of generations interacting with other live beings. Thus
we define intelligence in this context,
interacting with other agents of similar intelligence. We formalise the so-called
Darwin-Wallace distribution for
agents and environments. Despite the many options and the many sources of
uncomputability, we claim that,
conceptually, the notion of Darwin-Wallace distribution is useful to re-visit
previous definitions of intelligence. The
next step is how this notion can be used for AGI development and evaluation.
We present a procedure which
approximates a Darwin-Wallace distribution by using intelligence tests over
environments such that 'certified'
systems are incorporated into the environments, so making them socially more
complex . . . --José Hernández-Orallo et al., 2011. 'On more realistic environment distributions for
defining, evaluating and developing intelligence'
to cosmology shows how the consideration of the conditions necessary for
the evolution of
life is not wedded to any particular theory of star formation and development
but must be used appropriately in any
cosmology we pursue . . . --John D. Barrow, 2011. The Book of Universes:
Exploring the Limits of the Cosmos (W. W. Norton).
. . . The term
used to describe this type of speciation is allopatry, as opposed to sympatry,
where ancestral and
descendant species coexist in the same environment (or parapatry if they
exist side by side, with a hybridisation
zone in between). If two populations having evolved separately come back
in contact later on, the intermediate
phenotype of their offspring could make them unfit for either environment,
and this would then provide the selective
pressure for the selection of additional reproductive barriers, in a process
called reinforcement, and often referred to
as 'the Wallace effect'. Indeed, the earliest promoter of the
view that reinforcement could occur under the pressure
of natural selection was undoubtedly Alfred Wallace, who disagreed with Darwin's
views that reproductive
isolation could not possibly result from natural selection: "The
sterility of first crosses and of their hybrid progeny
has not been acquired through natural selection" (The Origin, Summary
of Hybridism chapter). This point was a
subject of written exchanges and arguments in private correspondence between
the two around 1858 [[sic]], 10
years after their joint communication to the Linnean Society in July 1858,
but Wallace formally published his views
only in 1889, some twenty year later, in chapter VII of his book called Darwinism.
On the subject of allopatry
versus sympatry, I do take a very divergent view to that adopted by a majority
of evolutionary biologists to this day.
Rather, I choose to follow Wallace's path against Darwin's in
thinking that natural selection plays a major role in
the reproductive isolation that defines species, and I shall actually venture
some steps further than Wallace, and will
advocate in the following pages that natural selection can act on the very
first stages of reproductive isolation, and
not just on reinforcement after divergence has taken place . . . --Etienne
Joly, 25 November 2010. Nature
. . . By the time he wrote Island life, Wallace
(1881) knew of 21 species of Philippine mammals, most of which
are either widespread species or Palawan endemics. Thus, he had virtually
no knowledge of the highly endemic
mammal communities in the oceanic Philippines. At the time, even less was
known of amphibian and reptile
diversity (Boulenger, 1894). Thus, Wallace's impression of the Philippine
fauna, and his biogeographic delineations
of it, were taken from a very small, biased sample of the diversity . . .
--Jacob A. Esselstyn et al., November 2010. Journal of Biogeography 37(11): 2055.
. . . With growing
knowledge about species distributions, updated summary information on species
endemism and faunistic resemblance has been assembled and analysed within
the classic Wallace scheme (Chapin,
1923; Smith, 1983; Cole et al., 1994; Newton & Dale, 2001). Furthermore,
various refinements have been
proposed, many of them addressing delineations of subregions, districts etc.
within classic Wallace regions (e.g.
Chapin, 1923; Hagmeier & Stults, 1964; Hagmeier, 1966; Hershkovitz, 1969;
Crowe & Crowe, 1982) or boundaries
and transition zones between regions, e.g. between the Oriental and Australian
realm (e.g. Mayr, 1944; Simpson,
1977; Vane-Wright, 1991; Beck et al., 2006b) . . . --Holger Kreft & Walter
Jetz, November 2010. Journal of
Biogeography 37(11): 2030.
. . . Few recognize,
as Cronin (1991) documents, that the contemporary dominance of adaptive
selection models, which assuming a controlling power of natural selection
on mating preferences, represents a
triumph of Wallace's view over the arguments of Darwin himself. Most
contemporary researchers are the
intellectual descendents of Wallace. Like Wallace, they are using the logic
of Darwin's Origin to argue against
Darwin's Selection in Relation to Sex. For one, Dawkins proudly embraces
Cronin's label as a modern Wallacean,
describing the theories of Zahavi, Hamilton, and Grafen as a "neo-Wallacean" triumph
over the incomplete and
muddled mate choice mechanism of Darwin and Fisher . . . --Richard O. Prum,
November 2010. Evolution 64(11):
The key feedbacks that amplify
change in the region are the reflectivity of the ground and the moisture
air, factors that were discussed more than a 100 years ago by the geologist
James Croll and the naturalist Alfred
Russell Wallace. Wallace, for example, wrote as follows (1895, p. 157): ...
the increased heat of summer could not
be in any way stored up, but would be largely prevented from producing any
effect, by reflection from the surface of
the snow and by the intervention of clouds and fog ... Reflectivity (albedo)
is now generally recognized as the
dominant feedback factor. The net contributions of clouds and fog, although
clearly important, are less obvious and
are difficult to quantify . . . --Wolfgang H. Berger, Michael Schulz & Gerold
Wefer, October 2010. International
Journal of Earth Sciences 99, Supplement 1: 171-189.
For Wallace, the two processes
of isolation in space and biological differentiation through time were
inseparable, because one (isolation) led to the other (speciation). Wallace's
view of what constituted natural--the
dual criteria of biological and geological uniqueness--has some important
implications for how natural
biogeographical units are identified. Because Wallace was the first to suggest
a geological/historical component to
the identification of natural biogeographical areas. I propose to name such
entities Wallacean biogeographical units
. . . --Bernard Michaux, September 2010. Biological Journal of the Linnean
Society 101: 193-212.
. . . In my view there is a further step to take,
and that is to confirm that areas of endemism are also Wallacean
biogeographical units. These are the fundamental units for further biogeographical
analysis because they are natural
entities, not human constructs. For example, 'Sulawesi' is an
area of endemism, but not a Wallacean
biogeographical unit: it is a human geopolitical construct that has no biogeographical
reality. Any attempt to use the
area 'Sulawesi' in biogeographical analysis is doomed to failure
. . . --Bernard Michaux, September 2010. Biological
Journal of the Linnean Society 101: 193-212.
. . . Roy Davies has assembled
a convincing case that Darwin was much more cavalier with attribution,
particularly with regard to Wallace, than commonly thought and in several
instances failed to cite or give adequate
credit to his antecedents. He concludes that Wallace has a stronger claim
to the theory of evolution than commonly
realized . . . --David Lloyd, Julian Wimpenny & Alfred Venables, September
2010. Journal of Biosciences 35: 339-
That Wallace almost certainly
solved the problem of divergence before Darwin did is, perhaps, not surprising.
Wallace had much the greater experience in the field of biogeography, which
was so fundamental to unravelling the
relationships between species. But, even more importantly, he had the advantage
that, unlike Darwin, he was
looking actively for evidence of evolution while in the field, and could
therefore tailor his data collection
appropriately. By contrast, Sulloway has recently argued most persuasively
that during the voyage on The Beagle Darwin was still a creationist in attitude; this blunted his appreciation
of the evolutionary significance of the
Galapagos fauna to the extent that he failed to collect a single tortoise
specimen and neglected to label his finch
specimens with their exact islands of origin . . . --David Lloyd, Julian
Wimpenny & Alfred Venables, September
2010. Journal of Biosciences 35: 339-349.
. . . 'Muir went over to Darwinism with all the rest' (Worster, 2008, p. 204), stating 'Not that I would in any way oppose the discovered truths of evolution for I embrace them cordially' (Worster, 2008, p. 206). And so Worster (p. 207) suggests a 'glowing endorsement' of Darwinism, taking Muir 'far . . . from, the evangelical orthodoxy and towards a more liberal, science-based view of the world'. There is, then, a likely influence of Darwin in Muir's later life and reading. Moreover, books in the Muir collection at Pacific University show that he was also reading the works of Alfred Russel Wallace, whom he met, the two naturalists together visiting the Muir Woods of northern California (Wallace, 1905, p. 158) . . . --R. M. McDowall, September 2010. Journal of Biogeography 37(9): 1634.
. . .Biological barriers act throughout the lifecycle and are often classified according to the point in the life cycle that they are encountered (e.g. premating vs. postmating). Barriers at each stage can arise as byproducts of within lineage evolution as a result of natural or sexual selection or genetic drift, but natural selection against maladaptive hybridization itself can also drive evolution of reproductive isolation barriers (Wallace, 1889; Fisher, 1930; Dobzhansky, 1937). This process is usually termed reinforcement, and as the name implies, it requires the pre-existence of some degree of reproductive isolation, which is then 'reinforced' by the evolution of additional barriers. Studies of reinforcement have focused overwhelmingly on premating barriers. . . . Nevertheless, selection on postmating barriers is at least theoretically possible (Wallace, 1889; Coyne, 1974). Wallace argued that selection among demes could drive hybrid inviability by reducing the negative impact of low-quality hybrids (Wallace, 1889) . . . --E. Turner, D. J. Jacobson & J. W. Taylor, August 2010. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 23(8): 1642.
. . . He spent years living
on his own in Amazonia and then in the Malay archipelago, making detailed
sympathetic observations about local peoples, practices and cultures. In
the latter context his travelling companion
and research assistant for many years was a young Malay man, Ali. At their
parting, in 1862, Wallace commissioned
a photograph of Ali to carry home to England and included it in his 1905
autobiography. Compare this to the
erasure of non-white participation and assistance in other European explorers' accounts
of the time . . . --Kathleen
Bolling Lowrey, August 2010. Anthropology Today 26(4): 18-21.
. . . one must simply concede that during the
20th-century history of the discipline anthropologists have
accumulated a huge wealth of data relating to question 3 for which no plausible
explanation, general theory, or
provisional hypothesis exists . . . And this is why, under present circumstances,
I want to advocate for Wallace--a
brilliant and unashamed crank--as an ancestor-figure for contemporary anthropology.
In Wallace's articulation of
the theory of evolution, he arrived at the same answers to questions 2 and
3, responding as follows: (1) common
origin, endless divergence; (2) co-operation; (3) no . . . --Kathleen Bolling
Lowrey, August 2010. Anthropology
Today 26(4): 18-21.
Wallace quite rightly considered
the lush complexity of human thought a serious mystery, one inexplicable
within the necessity-driven framework of natural selection. As he put it,
the human brain 'furnishes a surplusage of
power--of an instrument beyond the needs of its possessor'. This sounds
very much like Levi-Strauss's enchanting
assertion that 'the universe is never charged with sufficient meaning
[...] the mind always has more meanings
available than there are objects to which to relate them' . . . --Kathleen
Bolling Lowrey, August 2010. Anthropology
Today 26(4): 18-21.
Wallace (1890) suggested
that the primary function of egg coloration was to provide crypsis to avoid
although the experimental evidence supporting this hypothesis has been equivocal.
One possible reason for this is
that the experimental protocols typically involve painting eggs and comparing
predation rates on painted versus
natural eggs. With but one exception, all the egg-predation experiments cited
in their review use painted eggs . . . --Michael I. Cherry & Andrew
G. Gosler, August 2010. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 100: 753-762.
. . . Beatty et al. (2004) conducted another study, this time assessing the selection for mimicry using human predators and computer-generated prey. They found that when there are only 2 unprofitable prey types, selection for mimicry was weak. One reason for the results, they suggested, was that predators may not be sufficiently confused to generate selection for mimicry when just 2 different forms are involved. In an explanation for the evolution of conspicuous signals, Wallace (1889, p. 255) suggested that "not only do fewer individuals of each species need to be sacrificed in order that their enemies learn the lesson of their inedibility (in cases of mimicry), but they are more easily recognized at a distance and thus escape even pursuit. There is thus a kind of mimicry between closely allied species as well as between species of distinct genera, all tending to the same beneficial end." One explanation for Beatty et al's findings is that mimicry reduces confusion in visually complex environments. It has also been argued, in a theoretical treatment, that the mere coexistence of visually distinctive aposematic species can be mutually beneficial (Turner and Speed 1999). If predators that ingest members of one chemically defended species become risk averse with respect to further toxin ingestion, while their physiology copes with the toxins, it has been suggested that predators may heighten avoidance of species that could contain toxins, even in the absence of signal mimicry . . . –Hannah M. Rowland et al., July-August 2010. Behavioral Ecology 21(4): 851-852.
. . . Selection fundamentally
acts on genes or individuals of distinct species. At the individual level,
of a collection of interesting genes is mediated through the fitness of an
individual phenotype. But what is the
phenotype? What is a species? It may be worth remembering what Alfred Russel
Wallace, natural selection's co-
discoverer, published as species definition: 'A species . . . is
a group of living organisms, separated from all other
such groups by a set of distinctive character(istic)s, having relations to
the environment not identical with those of
any other group of organisms, and having the power of continuously reproducing
its like'. Thus, it is the relation to
the environment which is one of the features defining a species. The crucial
role of many microbes in development
demonstrates that environmental and genetic information interact . . . --Sebastian
Fraune & Thoms C. G. Bosch, July 2010. BioEssays 32(7): 578.
. . . Darwin (at least, in
the first edition of The
origin of species)
relied on selection as the main cause of
evolutionary change, but saw that hybrid sterility could not be directly
selected; instead, he argued that it arises as a
side-effect of divergence. In contrast, Wallace's (1889) enthusiasm
for selection led him to argue that not only could
it strengthen prezygotic isolation, by what we now call reinforcement, but
that group selection could even cause
hybrid sterility. Then, as now, ecological divergence that allows distinct
species to live together in sympatry received less attention than reproductive
isolation . . . --N. H. Barton,
12 June 2010. Philosophical Transactions of
the Royal Society, Series B, Biological Sciences 365: 1825-1840.
. . . In the present study, we use all
known non-African Charaxes species to explore the history of
diversification in the Oriental and Australian region, especially the 'transitional' Wallacea.
Several of these Charaxes species are poorly known and/or represent
recently described taxa. Indeed, the highly distinctive C. marki Lane & Müller is known only from the holotype. This work forms part
of a larger study that demonstrates Wallacea
is not only a transitional zone, but also comprises a very unique area, with
distinct geological and biogeographic
histories . . . –Chris J. Müller, Niklas Wahlberg & Luciano
B. Beheregaray, 1 June 2010. Biological Journal of the
Linnean Society 100(2): 458.
Despite Southeast Asia's
abundance of organisms and islands, however, finding a repeated signal
events beyond the encroachment of the Indo-Australian plate has been difficult.
A hierarchy of Southeast Asian
landmass associations, expressed as a single area cladogram, would be a more
intriguing pattern to extrapolate and
explore. Just such a hypothesis was suggested by Wallace (1863) and used
as a theoretical model by Nelson &
Platnick (1981). Unfortunately, a convincing area cladogram for the region
has been elusive, notwithstanding
proposals for certain taxa . . . --Ronald M. Clouse & Gonzalo Giribet,
June 2010. Journal of Biogeography 37:
. . . While the distribution
of many flora and fauna conforms to Wallace's
line, the seafaring capabilities of
human settlers to this region undoubtedly overcame this barrier to dispersal.
Indeed, Asian ancestry exceeds 50 per
cent as far as east as the island of Alor, which is well within Wallacea
and approximately 1000 km east of Bali, as
well as on the island of Sulawesi, which is located east of Wallace's
line in the north. Curiously, Wallace himself
noted this difference, positing a second line in eastern Indonesia corresponding
to changes in human phenotype
(Wallace 1869 . . . ). Wallace's second 'phenotypic' line
broadly parallels the rapid decline in Asian admixture
identified here . . . --Murray P. Cox et al., 22 May 2010. Proceedings
of the Royal Society, Series B, Biological
Sciences 277: 1589-1596.
. . . Wallace was scandalized
by Darwin's sexual selection theory,
considering it Darwin's greatest error,
because it appeared to admit a subjective factor into evolutionary theory,
because it appeared to admit a subjective
factor into elocutionary theory. Indeed, it appeared to elevate aesthetic
appreciation to the status of a significant
factor in evolution. Wallace's alternative theory to account for exaggerated
display traits relied instead on
explanations that invoked incidental physiological mechanisms in males and
the need to suppress their effects in females, to avoid predation . . . Wallace
was of course wrong in his denial of the plausibility of sexual selection,
although not completely wrong to doubt that aesthetic appreciation of combative
prowess were the primary factors.
It took a century to recognize that the theory needed to be based instead
on asymmetries of parental investment in
offspring care between the sexes. Today, sexual selection theory is again
considered an important adjunct to the theory of natural selection; however,
its reinstatement has not resuscitated the power of Darwin's account
language origins . . . --Terrence W. Deacon, 11 May 2010. Proceedings
of the National Academy of Sciences of the
United States of America 107, Supplement 2: 9000-9006.
. . . Few scientists today accept Wallace's
creationism, teleology, or spiritualism. Nonetheless it is appropriate
to engage the profound puzzle he raised; namely, why do humans have the ability
to pursue abstract intellectual
feats such as science, mathematics, philosophy, and law, given that opportunities
to exercise these talents did not
exist in the foraging lifestyle in which humans evolved and would not have
parlayed themselves into advantages in
survival and reproduction even if they did? I suggest that the puzzle can
be resolved with two hypotheses. The first
is that humans evolved to fill the "cognitive niche," a mode
of survival characterized by manipulating the
environment through casual reasoning and social cooperation. The second is
that the psychological faculties that
evolved to prosper in the cognitive niche can be coopted to abstract domains
by processes of metaphorical
abstraction and productive combination, both vividly manifested in human
language . . . --Steven Pinker, 11 May
2010. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States
of America 107, Supplement 2: 8993.
. . . Toward the end
of their lives, Darwin and Wallace became estranged. Darwin argued that
was sufficient to explain the origin of the existing biological world. Wallace
believed that natural selection alone
was insufficient to explain the existence of complex structures such as the
human brain. From the bioenergetic
perspective, Wallace's reservations were justified, as complexity can
be generated only through the information-
generating power of energy flow and the cumulative information storage capacity
of nucleic acids. It took more than
3.5 billion years for these systems to amass sufficient information to generate
the human brain. Thus the missing
concept that Wallace sought to explain the ascent of man is the interaction
between energetics and information . . . --Douglas C. Wallace, 11 May 2010. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of
America 107, Supplement 2: 8952.
Wallace proposed to redefine
Darwinism in a way that excluded Darwin's
principle of sexual selection. The
main result of the Darwin-Wallace controversy was that most Darwinian biologists
avoided the subject of sexual
selection until at least the 1950's, Ronald Fisher being a major exception.
This controversy still deserves attention
from modern evolutionary biologists, because the modern approach inherits
from both Darwin and Wallace. The
modern approach tends to present sexual selection as a special aspect of
the theory of natural selection, although it
also recognizes the big difficulties resulting from the inevitable interaction
between these two natural processes of
selection . . . --Jean Gayon, February 2010. Comptes Rendus Biologies 333: 134-144.
. . . Early evolutionary
theories of senescence (Wallace, ca. 1865; Weismann,
1889) were group-selectionist in
nature, proposing that individuals senesce and eventually die in order to make
space and resources available for
future generations composed of younger, more vigorous individuals. However, such
arguments are circular because,
if ageing is one of the reasons why individuals must be replaced, they presuppose
that individuals must deteriorate
over time. Moreover, they fail to explain how a population of altruistically
senescing individuals would not be
subject to invasion by more slowly senescing or even non-senescing invaders.
Recent studies have placed group-
selectionist arguments on a stronger theoretical foundation by emphasizing instances
where senescence appears to
be "selected for its own sake" as a result of kin- or group-level
benefits including payoffs to close relatives, and
reduced local extinction risk due to communicable diseases or chaotic population
dynamics . . . --Robert A. Laird &
Thomas N. Sherratt, February 2010. Biosystems 99(2): 130.
. . . Other questions,
such as whether maternal emotions influence the fetus, have made a remarkable
Alfred Russel Wallace was co-originator of the theory of evolution by natural
selection written in 1859 by Darwin.
When Wallace (1893c) wrote the above quoted sentence in a letter entitled 'Prenatal
influences on character' into
Nature, the belief that a mother's emotions could affect the child she
carries was seen as resting on old wives' tales.
Wallace (1893a,b) was also publishing articles about the possibility of being
able to study whether 'individually
acquired characters are inherited'. Lamarck had incorporated this idea
in his theory of directed evolution; it was
seriously challenged in 1880 by Weismann's theory, on which the modern
understanding of genetic inheritance
became based, and since the turn of the 20th century it became widely rejected
by the scientific community.
However, this old question that had originated in ancient time, with Greek philosophers,
recently got renewed
interest with the discovery of epi-genetic variation between individuals and
the finding that in some cases epigenetic
variants can be inherited by the offspring, a biological inheritance that cannot
be explained by changes in the DNA-
sequence itself . . . --Bea R. H. Van den Bergh, January/February 2010. Infant
and Child Development 19(1): 42.
The Wallace (1881) and Briggs (1966) lineage age hypothesis
suggests that there are low levels of endemism in
the Azores biota because the biota is of recent (post-Pleistocene) origin.
Avila et al. (2008) challenged this
hypothesis to explain at least mollusc diversity patterns by demonstrating
that the endemic mollusc fauna of the
Azores was largely unaffected by Pleistocene climatic oscillations and that
the current endemic fauna is therefore
not of post-Pleistocene origin. Evidence from phylogenetic relationships
of Azorean plant lineages suggests that the
lineage age hypothesis similarly fails to explain the distinctive patterns
of Azorean endemic plant diversity . . . --Mark A. Carine & Hanno Schaefer,
January 2010. Journal of Biogeography 37: 77-89.
. . . although it is
sometimes argued that aposematic signalling is fundamentally about raised
rather than heightened conspicuousness, the two often amount to the same thing
(Wallace 1889). If this is generally
true, the association between conspicuousness and aposematism in the primary
evolution of warning signals, in our
view, is not problematic . . . --Thomas J. Lee, Nicola M. Marples & Michael
P. Speed, January 2010. Animal
Behaviour 79(1): 70.
. . . Wallace's
essay was remarkable for two reasons: First, it conveys a sophisticated
understanding of the
nature of selection among individuals belonging to a normal distribution
of trait values. "The flowers most
completely fertilized by these moths being those which had the longest nectaries,
there would in each generation be
on the average an increase in the length of the nectaries, and also an average
increase in the length of the proboscis
of the moths, and this would be a necessary result from the fact that nature
ever fluctuates about a mean, or that in
every generation there would be flowers with longer and shorter nectaries,
and moths with longer and shorter
probosces than the average" (p. 476). Second, Wallace
actually mentions Xanthopan (Macrosila) morganii,
species of moth that is now considered the most likely pollinator of A.
Wallace was not aware of the
long-tongued Malagasy race of this hawkmoth, but he had measured a specimen
of the African mainland form in the
British Museum and found that its tongue measured 7.5 inches [18 centimeters].
Wallace (1867) wrote "That such a
moth exists in Madagascar may be safely predicted; and naturalists who visit
that island should search for it with as
much confidence as astronomers searched for the planet Neptune,--and they
will be equally successful!" . . . --Steven D. Johnson & Bruce
Anderson, 2010. Evolution, Education and Outreach 3(1): 34.
. . . In the 1890s
an English linguist, S. H. Ray, pointed out that some of the languages
of British New Guinea
and the Solomon Islands were not Austronesian. A parallel discovery had already
been made in the Moluccas by in
the 1850s by the naturalist A. R. Wallace, when he collected vocabularies
in these easternmost islands of the Indo-
Malaysian archipelago. In a well-known book on his travels in this region
Wallace proposed a distinction between 'Malay' and 'Papuan' languages
in the Moluccas. Following Wallace's lead, Ray applied the name 'Papuan' to
non-Austronesian languages of Melanesia, as a convenient catch-all. Soon
after, Wilhelm Schmidt observed that
non-Austronesian languages were present on the north coast of the New Guinea
mainland and in New Britain. What
was striking about the various small groups of Papuan languages, was that,
unlike the Austronesian languages, there
was no evidence of common origin. Only in the last 50 years has the full
extent of the diversity of the languages of
Near Oceania become clear . . . --Jan Lucassen, 2010. In Migration History
in World History: Multidisciplinary
Approaches (Brill): 87-88.
. . . any system seeking
to utilize all the energy or resources for its own purposes is bound to
be challenged by
other systems. The consequence of these interactions between self-organizing
systems is a continuous stream of new
things, or in the case of humans, new thinking. This is diversity. Bateson
interpreted self-organizing systems as
working together to sustain the existence of an evolving ecosystem. This
approach has its roots in Alfred Russell
Wallace's work. Wallace saw that the job of evolution was to maintain
the constancy of something in his case, the
entire ecosystem made up of all species and their environment--a process
rather like the cruise control system or
constant velocity transmission (CVT) on a motor car. We can also think of
it in terms our bodies' ability to adapt to
changes in the outside temperature, at least within a limited range. By shivering
or perspiring, our body temperature
remains more or less constant because we vary internal conditions in response
to those changes in outside
temperature . . . --Edward Moulding, 2010. In 5s: A Visual Control System
for the Workplace (AuthorHouse): 129.
. . . Indonesia, the
world's largest archipelago,
is a chain of more than 17,000 islands that stretches between the
continents of Asia and Australia . . . Early explorers noticed morphological
differences from east to west that were
dramatic enough to lead Alfred Russell Wallace to designate a human phenotypic
boundary demarcating the
transition between Asian and Melanesian features. Relative to his more well-known
biogeographic boundary, this
line lies slightly east, running between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores
(Wallace 1869 . . . ). The languages of
the region follow a similar pattern, with the majority belonging to the extensive
Austronesian language family but
with more distantly related Papuan languages occurring in the Far Eastern
provinces, especially in areas where
Melanesian features predominate (Wallace 1869). To explain these patterns,
the prehistory of this region has often
been framed as the story of two major range expansions: the initial Paleolithic
colonization of Sahul ~45 ka ago and
the much later Neolithic expansion of Austronesian-speaking farmers (4-6
ka ago) out of mainland Asia or Taiwan
into Indonesia and the Pacific . . . --Tatiana M. Karafet et al., 2010. Molecular
Biology and Evolution 27(8): 1833.
. . . Even within the
technologist's definition of
technology as dealing with mechanical artifacts alone,
Wallace's insight has major relevance. The subject matter of technology,
according to the Preface to History of
Technology, is "how things are done or made"; and most students
of technology, to my knowledge, agree with this.
But the Wallace insight leads to a different definition: the subject matter
of technology would be "how man does or
makes." As to the meaning and end of technology, the same source, again
presenting the general view, defines them
as "mastery of his (man's) natural environment." Oh no,
the Wallace insight would say (and in rather shocked
tones): the purpose is to overcome man's own natural, i.e. animal,
limitations. Technology enables man, a land-
bound biped, without gills, fins, or wings, to be at home in the water or
in the air. It enables an animal with very
poor body insulation, that is, a subtropical animal, to live in all climate
zones. It enables one of the weakest and
slowest of the primates to add to his own strength that of elephant or ox,
and to his own speed that of the horse. It
enables him to push his life span from his "natural" twenty years
or so to threescore years and ten; it even enables
him to forget that natural death is death from predators, disease, starvation,
or accident, and to call death from
natural causes that which has never been observed in wild animals: death
from organic decay in old age . . . --Peter
Ferdinand Drucker, 2010. Technology, Management, and Society (Harvard Business
. . . What I have called
here the "Wallace insight," that
is, the approach from human biology, thus leads to the
conclusion that technology is not about things: tools, processes, and products.
It is about work: the specifically
human activity by means of which man pushes back the limitations of the iron
biological law which condemns all
other animals to devote all their time and energy to keeping themselves alive
for the next day, if not for the next
hour. The same conclusion would be reached, by the way, from any approach,
for instance, from that of the
anthropologist's "culture," that does not mistake technology
for a phenomenon of the physical universe. We might
define technology as human action on physical objects or as a set of physical
objects characterized by serving
human purposes. Either way the realm and subject matter of the study of technology
would be human work . . . --Peter Ferdinand Drucker, 2010. Technology,
Management, and Society (Harvard Business Press): 42-43.
. . . By contrast,
Alfred Russell Wallace, co-discoverer with Darwin of the principle of natural
believed that count words were essential for numerical cognition, in particular
arithmetic: "if, now, we descend to
those savage tribes who only count to three or five, and who find it impossible
to comprehend the addition of two
and three without having the objects actually before them, we feel that the
chasm between them and the good
mathematician is so vast, that a thousand to one will probably not fully
express it" (Wallace, 1871, p. 339). The
question of the role of language in arithmetic became the focus of recent
experimental psychological studies in
cultures with few number words, in particular the Pirahã and the Mundurukú,
two cultures from the Amazon forest
with an extremely limited number vocabulary . . . --Helen De Cruz, Hansjörg
Neth & Dirk Schlimm, 2010. In
Benedikt Löwe & Thomas Müller, eds., PhiMSAMP: Philosophy
of Mathematics: Sociological Aspects and
Mathematical Practice (College Publications): 74.
. . . Moreover, Alfred Wallace,
co-inventor of the theory of the evolution by natural selection, doubted
evolution could produce anything like states of consciousness. This problem
was later labelled the "explanatory
gap". Individuals use different names for what it is that they are
opposing to physical phenomena. Huxley and
Romanes used "consciousness". Some use "sentience" .
. . many now refer to "Phenomenal Consciousness" (PC) in
contrast with "Access Consciousness" (AC), or, in the terminology
of Chalmers, distinguish the so-called "Hard
Problem" of consciousness from a (relatively) "Easy Problem".
Such formulations presuppose a dichotomy: a
binary divide between things that do and things that do not have the problematic
extra feature over and above their
physical features . . . –Stéphane Doncieux, 2010, in From
Animals to Animats 11: 11th International Conference on
Simulation and Adaptive Behavior (Springer).
One possibility is that Wallace
was deliberately romanticizing his actual observations and experiences
Nancy Stepan has noted that the popular success of The Malay Archipelago came from its fulfilment of
contemporaneous readers' expectations of what an account of the tropics
should be, in contrast to his 1853 account
of his travels in South America, Travels on the Amazon and Rio Negro, which
was not only "unromantic," but "unheroic," and did
not sell well . . . However, I would like to put forth another possibility:
what if Wallace's
portrayal of the archipelago as paradise, and more specifically, his portrayal
of interracial relations and "uncivilized" society as positively
pre-lapsarian, resulted not from the impulse to romanticize, but rather, a
fidelity to scientific accuracy? . . . --Tiffany Tsao, 2010. Australasian
Journal of Victorian Studies 15: 28-41.
. . . I will show how Wallace arrived at his
surprisingly favourable and anti-scientific" assessments of the
inhabitant races and communities of the Malay Archipelago by applying the
principles of taxonomic classification
to the human realm. Given that Wallace's primary employment in the
Malay Archipelago was to collect specimens
of flora and fauna and classify them according to the principles of the Linnaean
taxonomic classification system, his
adoption of what I will term a "taxonomic perspective" in viewing
the humans whom he encountered should hardly
be surprising. Using these same principles of taxonomic classification, Wallace
was able to achieve a perspective on
the Malay Archipelago hitherto unachieved by authoritative accounts of the
region, challenging the predominant
scientific views of race held at the time and unsettling even his own views
of the "uncivilized" races . . . --Tiffany
Tsao, 2010. Australasian Journal of Victorian Studies 15: 28-41.
. . . for Wallace, feeling "that
savages were in some respects superior, would not have necessarily made
it true. I
would argue instead that his positive portrayals of human life in the archipelago
had just as much scientific basis as
his opening portrayals of the archipelago's natural environment as
an otherworldly Eden. If Wallace's construction
of a paradisiacal natural environment relied on his utilization of scientific
precedent and natural selection theory, it
was his application of taxonomic classification that enabled him to see the
human individuals and communities of
the archipelago as uniquely paradisiacal as well. Wallace's taxonomic
perspective enabled him to break away not
only from dominant perceptions of the races as different stages on a single,
linear scale of sociocultural evolution,
but also from the social Darwinist tendency of his day to view interracial
relations as an inexorable struggle in which the white races would prevail
. . . --Tiffany Tsao, 2010. Australasian Journal of Victorian Studies 15: 28-41.
. . . Cloete's poetry does not shy
away from inter alia "controversial
scientific subjects" in a number of poems,
and he contemplates the origin of creation and the development of life on earth.
The reader is led to consider
Cloete's views on creation and evolution. In this article the emphasis
will be on the role of evolution in Cloete's
poetry and how he uses a well-known observation by one of the main exponents
of evolution theory in one of his
poems, "toegedig aan Alfred R. Wallace", to present a text that expresses
wonderment at a natural phenomenon . . .
--Johann Lodewyk Marais, Desember 2009. Tydskrif vir Geeteswetenskappe 49(4):
. . . This paper is
divided into three parts. In the first part I will outline the development
of the reciprocal nature
of biology and geology. Surprisingly reciprocality had been proposed more
than 50 years before Wegener by the
biogeographer Alfred Russel Wallace, co-author of the theory of evolution
by means of natural selection (Wallace,
1858). I will briefly outline Wallace's biogeographic ideas as they
pertain to reciprocality, before examining
Wegener's reconstruction hypothesis of the Cretaceous polar region
in more detail . . . --B. Michaux, December
2009. Gondwana Research 16(3-4): 656.
. . . The female limitation
of mimicry is usually explained by a combination of sex-dependent predation
pressure and sexual selection: (1) female butterflies carry heavy egg-loads
and are therefore aerodynamically
constrained in their escape flights. Thus, females are thought to be more
vulnerable to predation and presumably
gain a greater fitness advantage from Batesian mimicry compared to males
(Wallace 1865 . . . ), and (2) wing colour
patterns are assumed to be constrained by sexual selection to a much greater
extent in males than in females. Thus,
male mimicry is selectively disfavoured when its natural selective advantage
is overwhelmed by the sexual selective
advantage of nonmimetic coloration that may be more successful during inter-
or intrasexual encounters. However,
these hypotheses do not explain the presence of and natural variation in
female-limited mimetic polymorphism . . . --Krushnamegh Kunte, November 2009. Animal Behaviour 78(5): 1029.
. . . The behavior of females in search of a mate impacts the success of males in mate competition and, hence, the force of sexual selection on male phenotypic characters. The search behavior of females is also subject to selection because the search strategy used by a female determines the likelihood that she encounters a high quality male in the search process. This latter idea is germinal in the views of Alfred R. Wallace who argued that females would, had they evolved the cognitive ability, choose mates who provide them with a fitness benefit (Wallace, 1871, 1889; reviewed by Cronin, 1991). The search strategy favored by selection, in this situation, is the strategy that provides the highest fitness return to searchers. Janetos (1980) stimulated the study of search strategies when, more than one hundred years later, he showed that a fixed sample search strategy provides a higher fitness return to females than several alternative strategies. . . . --Daniel D. Wiegmann, Steven M. Seubert & Gordon A. Wade, October 2009. Journal of Theoretical Biology 262(4): 596.
. . . More than 150
years ago, Wallace had already recognized a profound connection between
geology and the
distribution of plants and animals, and many of his insights were based on
his observations in Southeast Asia. Our
understanding of the Earth has changed considerably since Wallace's
time but an understanding of the geology of
Southeast Asia remains fundamental to interpreting biotic distributions in
the region. However, the links between
geological history and life are not simple, and a great deal of work is still
required to understand the complex
interrelationships and feedbacks between plate tectonics, changing distributions
of land and sea, emergence of land
and rise of mountains, subsidence below sea level and formation of deep ocean
basins, uplift and erosion, changing
ocean currents, climatic impacts of all these changes, and their effects
on plants and animals and their evolution and
distribution . . . --R. Hall, October 2009. Blumea 54(1-3): 148.
. . . Because most butterflies
can fold their wings together, hiding the dorsal surface, a dorsal-ventral
partitioning of visual signals may present one solution to accommodating potentially
pressures. The speculation that dorsal wing patterns are important for mate signalling,
while the ventral surface may
be more subject to selection by natural enemies is, in fact, not new (Darwin
1871; Wallace 1889), although no study
has directly tested this hypothesis in a comparative framework. In addition to
a dorsal/ventral partition, butterflies
may separate signals between forewing and hindwing, given their ability to hide
the forewing behind the hindwing
when at rest. These two surface axes, dorsal-ventral and forewing/hindwing, offer
butterflies two spatial dimensions
that may be partitioned to serve different, potentially antagonistic, signal
functions . . . --Jeffrey C. Oliver, Kendra
A. Robertson & Antónia Monteiro, 7 July 2009. Proceedings of the
Royal Society of London, Series B, Biological
Sciences 276(1666): 2369.
Island radiations are thought
to undergo evolutionarily short 'taxon
cycles' of diversification and rapid demise,
before being superseded by different lineages of colonizers. The archipelagos
of Wallacea (eastern Indonesia),
Melanesia (including New Guinea) and Oceania have long served as a natural
laboratory to study the evolutionary
dynamics of such colonizations and biological radiations (Wallace 1859 .
. . ). Yet, the faunal origins and
mechanisms responsible for the region's diversification as well as
their contribution to global diversity remain
poorly understood . . . --Michael Balke et al., 7 July 2009. Proceedings
of the Royal Society of London, Series B,
Biological Sciences 276: 2359-2367.
Darwin (1862) and Wallace
(1867) provided a possible explanation for such extreme elongation, suggesting
that the long nectar spur of the Malagasy star orchid (Angraecum sesquipedale)
evolved in a coevolutionary race with a giant hawkmoth. According to this
model, selection on the hawkmoth favours longer tongues to better reach
the orchid's nectar, while selection on the orchid favours nectar spurs
that are longer than hawkmoth tongues because this ensures contact with
the orchid's reproductive parts (thus maximizing pollen transfer) . . .
Darwin was not proposing a general mechanism for the evolution of corolla
tube length, but was specifically interested in the extreme case of A.
sesquipedale (Darwin 1862). Furthermore, in expounding on Darwin's
idea, Wallace (1867) actually envisioned that initial stages in tube elongation
would involve pollinator shifts, and suggested that a coevolutionary race
would begin only when the tube length corresponded to the tongue length
of the largest hawkmoth in the habitat . . . --Nathan Muchhala & James
D. Thomson, 22 June 2009. Proceedings of The Royal Society of London,
Series B, Biological Sciences 276(1665): 2147-2148.
. . The classical view of reinforcement is that selection can only strengthen
prezygotic isolation, not postzygotic because selection cannot favor a further reduction
in the fitness of hybrids (Wallace 1889; Dobzhansky 1940). (Selection can
favor a reduced fitness of juveniles where these compete with siblings,
but the principle is the same). This argument applies where a single allele
strengthens isolation, but not when isolation is strengthened by an association between
existing incompatibilities. As we show below, the two different incompatibilities
then do not have to be at different stages of the life cycle: each may
have the same status, and we cannot say that one evolves "to" reinforce
the other. The evolution of the association itself can be seen as adaptive,
in the sense that (directly or indirectly) it raises the mean fitness of
the population. However, it can involve incompatibilities at any stage
of hybridization . . . --Nicholas H. Barton & Maria Angeles Rodriguez
de Cara, May 2009. Evolution 63(5): 1172.
additional attributes that make islands lasting focal points for evolutionary
studies--their relative youth and geographical isolation--were clearly identified
by Alfred Russel Wallace, the co-originator of the theory of evolution by
natural selection, in his 1881 book Island Life. First, many islands
are either volcanic in origin or have been completely under water at some
point in their history. These islands emerge above the ocean surface as blank
slates for colonization and subsequent evolutionary diversification, on which
the development of ecological and evolutionary systems can be observed from
their beginnings. Each island represents a new opportunity for living forms
to appear and proliferate. The first colonists, finding untapped resources
and lacking the constraints of a resident biota, often diversify in novel
directions. This evolutionary idiosyncrasy is enhanced by unbalanced colonization--strong
dispersal abilities are not evenly distributed across the ecological spectrum
of continental biotas--with the result that some ecological niches on islands
are filled by diversification rather than colonization . . . --Jonathan B.
Losos & Robert E. Ricklefs, 12 February 2009. Nature 457(7231):
Wallace, who promoted Strickland's methods,
wrote that every systematic work should include diagrams,"without which
it is often impossible to tell whether two families follow each other because
the author thinks them
allied, or merely because the exigencies of a consecutive series compels him
so to place them". In essence, Wallace
claims that without diagrams the reader cannot know whether information is
meaningful or is simply a product of
the representational medium's limitations; Darwin capitalizes on this
basic ambiguity within his diagram itself . . . --Heather Brink-Roby,
Winter 2009. Victorian Studies 51: 247-273.
. . . Many questions are involved in
Wallace's Line, but it
represents a line of major faunal break between the
Oriental and the Australian regions. According to Sweet & Pianka (2003),
varanid species are diversified to the east
of Wallace's Line while this side lacks carnivorous placental mammals.
The diversity of varanid species and that of
carnivorous mammals are virtually inverted to the west of Wallace's Line,
a region that harbours nearly 20
mammalian carnivores and that lacks small varanid lizards. These observations
suggest that the coexistence of mammalian carnivores and varanid lizards is
limited because they are too similar as predators . . . --Marc Augé &
Richard Smith, January 2009. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 155:
little that we have learned about the likelihood of reciprocal selection
operating in this system helps to explain the observation of extreme trait
exaggeration. However, directional selection for trait exaggeration does
not act in isolation. In addition to escalating reciprocal selection, there
are a theoretically infinite number of other selective forces that simultaneously
act on proboscis and tube length and some of these must serve to balance
the forces that favor trait elongation (Wallace 1867). Understanding some
of these forces and how they vary in strength across the landscape will be
important in explaining the observation of twofold variability in proboscis
and tube length. For example, one of the many costs of longer proboscis might
include increased handling time. It was observed that flies feeding on windy
days required several attempts before succeeding in inserting their proboscides
into flowers. Possibly windier conditions in the South might lead to stronger
balancing selection at this latitude . . . --Anton Pauw, Jaco Stofberg & Richard
J. Waterman, January 2009. Evolution 63(1): 275.
trait recognition and pollinator consistency have been extensively studied,
i.e., insect pollinators tend to exhaust one floral morph for resources before
moving on to other floral morphs. Indeed, A. R. Wallace (1889) may have been
the first to suggest that sympatric plant species pollinated by "flower constant" pollinators
will profit from having different floral recognition traits. Consequently,
we would expect statistically significant correlations among the first appearances
of critical floral traits and the diversification of the flowering plants
and their insect pollinators. As noted, the first appearances of floral traits
and the diversification of flowering plant species are significantly correlated.
Likewise, the first appearances of key floral traits and insect families
in the fossil record are significantly correlated . . . as are angiosperm
species number and insect family number . . . --William L. Crepet &
Karl J. Niklas, January 2009. American Journal of Botany 96(1): 372.
. . . Despite of their
seemingly large number, aerosol particles are true trace constituents of the
their mass fraction typically being below one part per billion and thereby much
below that of any important gaseous
climate agent. Nevertheless they may have a profound influence on our climate.
This perception is not at all new,
only 20 years after Aitken discovered the importance of aerosols as condensation
nuclei, Alfred R. Wallace noted in
1898: "But in all densely-populated countries there is an enormous artificial
production of dust.. This
superabundance of dust . . . must almost certainly produce some effect on our
climate; and the particular effect it
seems calculated to produce is the increase of cloud and fog, but not necessarily
any increase of rain." . . . --J.
Feichter & T. Leisner, 2009. The European Physical Journal, Special Topics 176(1): 84.
. . . Non-exclusive hypotheses
have traditionally been proposed to account for spectacular woodiness examples
in the neo-flora of oceanic islands (Wallace, 1878 . . . ). Selection for successful
pollination with large, long-lasting
inflorescences, niche competition among initial colonizers, and promotion of
the outbreeding ratio to overcome
inbreeding depression may be related to Echium longevity and woodiness. Irrespective
of the causes generating
woodiness, the trait utility of this character is manifested by the large number
of woody plant groups that rapidly
evolved from herbaceous ancestors not only in Macaronesia (Sonchus, Isoplexis, Aeonium group, Pericallis), but
also in the Hawaiian (silversword alliance, Schieda), Galápagos (Scallesia),
and Juan Fernández (Dendroseris)
archipelagos . . . --Federico García-Maroto, 2009. Molecular Phylogenetics
and Evoution 52(3): 572.
. . . The current extinction
crisis and the extent of anthropogenic alteration of natural habitats have
alarming proportions . . . Potential hindrances to global assessment of priority
list candidates have been divided into
eight categories: (1) the extreme heterogeneity of existing data; (2) the restricted
availability of relevant data and
lack of information exchange between scientists and conservationists; (3) the
uncertainty in species number and
taxonomic division of the given taxon (Linnean shortfall); (4) the fragmentary
knowledge of distributions
(Wallacean shortfall); (5) incomplete or erroneous red-listing across the entire
distribution of a given taxon; (6) the
lack of homogenous and reliable population trend data; (7) the lack of exhaustive
information on observed and
potential threats; and finally (8) the incomplete general biological knowledge
of a given taxon (e.g., its reproduction
biology, genetic diversity, dispersal parameters, etc.). It has been demonstrated
that Linnean and Wallacean
shortfalls are among the most serious problems in modern conservation biology
and biogeography, and that the
majority of deficits in knowledge during any global conservation status assessment
results from these two shortfalls
. . . --Gregor Kozlowski et al., 2009. Biodiversity and Conservation 18(9): 2308.
has long been recognized that Thailand is subdivided into two zoogeographic
subregions with the Indochinese subregion to the north and Sundaic subregion
to the south with a transition zone in the Isthmus of Kra. Distribution patterns
corresponding to this division have been observed in a range of biota including
rodents, insects, reptiles and plants. Initially, Wallace (1876) had placed
the transition zone at 13-14ºN, whereas Wells fixed the avifaunal transition
zone at about 10º30'N, in the Isthmus of Kra. Subsequently, Hughes et
al., based on forest birds, found a highly significant transition zone
at 11-12ºN, in the north of the peninsula. The distribution patterns
of the three species [considered here] were of considerable interest since
they strongly support the existing concepts of a subregional division . .
. --Pipat Soisook et al., December 2008. Acta Chiropterologica 10(2):
powerful effect of clinging on the emotional behavior of infant nonhuman
primates had been known for many years. It was mentioned by Van Wagenen in
her recommendations and in many other naturalistic accounts of primate infants.
One of my favorite quotations is from Alfred Russel Wallace, who describes
an "artificial mother"
of buffalo skin he devised for an orphan orangutan (1869). All of us associated
with the nursery project were impressed by the strength of the infants' emotional
attachment to their cloths. When I suggested to Harlow that we devise an experiment
pitting our monkeys' responses to the feeding station against their attachment
to a claspable object, he urged me to proceed. Accordingly, I designed an experiment
around two mother surrogates that were the functional counterparts of the diaper
and the feeding rack. These prototypes had the bodies of the final versions,
although they lacked the famous distinctive faces, which were added later . .
. --William A. Mason, December 2008. Integrative Psychological and Behavioral
Science 42(4): 390-391.
. . Wallace wrote that "[i]n the equable equatorial zone there is no . .
. struggle against climate. Every form of vegetation has become alike adapted
to its genial heat and ample moisture, which has probably changed little
even throughout geological periods". We now know that lowland tropical climates
have changed substantially and relentlessly ever since species-rich forests
resembling modern ones first occupied the lowland wet tropics in the mid-Tertiary.
Although the notion of long-term constancy of tropical climates is now universally
dismissed, Wallace's view of tropical climates as benign lingers on, underlying
the apparently widespread conviction that
"[m]any tropical species may well be able to withstand higher temperature[s]
than those in which they currently exist." . . . --Robert K. Colwell et al.,
10 October 2008. Science 322(5899): 259.
. . we must consider the possibility that hominids in general and humans
in particular have partially escaped from classic Darwinian selective control
of some aspects of the genome, and that humans have even escaped the final
stage of Baldwinian genetic hard-wiring of long-standing species-specific
learned behaviors. This might in turn help to explain the unusual degree
of exaptation displayed by the human brain, presented as 'Wallace's Conundrum'
in Box 6. The advantages of such novel changes are flexibility, plasticity,
more rapidly developing population diversity and greater opportunities--but
the disadvantages are that genomes cannot recover what has been irrevocably
lost, and cultural advantages can be sensitive to the whims of history and
fate . . . --Ajit Varki, Daniel H. Geschwind & Evan E. Eichler, October
2008. Nature Reviews Genetics 9(10): 758.
importance of avian egg coloration for crypsis, once accepted as a general
principle (Wallace 1890, Cott 1940, von Haartman 1957, Harrison 1968), has
recently been questioned because tests of this hypothesis have often failed
to support a role for egg coloration in deterring predation. As a result,
more recent work has emphasized the importance of nest crypsis as the primary
mediator of clutch survival . . . --David Westmoreland, September 2008. Journal
of Field Ornithology 79(3): 263.
mimicry of hawks by parasitic cuckoos. Wallace (1889) suggested that
the resemblance was an example of protective mimicry, which might reduce
attacks from hawks, noting that cuckoos were otherwise 'an exceedingly
weak and defenceless group of birds'. Prolonged periods of surveillance
for host nests, sometimes from exposed perches, might make parasitic cuckoos
especially vulnerable to hawk attack. In Asia, drongo-cuckoos (Surniculus
lugubris) may likewise gain from protective mimicry of drongos Dicrurus spp.,
which are extremely aggressive to larger birds, including birds of prey
and crows (Wallace 1889). Alternatively, hawk mimicry might influence host
behaviour, either by frightening or luring hosts away to facilitate egg
laying or by inducing mobbing to help the cuckoo locate host nests, which
may be especially advantageous in open country with few secret vantage
points . . . --N. B. Davies & J. A. Welbergen, August 2008. Proceedings
of the Royal Society of London, Series B, Biological Sciences 275(1644):
. . It has been argued that Ostriches lay white eggs because they are powerful
enough to defend their nests (Wallace 1889). However, when nests are unattended,
such big eggs are quite visible on the ground to both mammalian and avian
predators. In our visibility study, a naturally white egg was seen first
by the observer, suggesting that the brown eggs are better concealed. Ostriches
would therefore have derived a selective advantage in the face of predators
by having brown eggs. Our results therefore are consistent with the prediction,
and support Bertram and Burger's conclusion, that white Ostrich eggs minimise
overheating, but are prone to predation . . . --Flora John Magige et
al., July 2008. Journal of Ornithology 149(3): 327.
there are so many species in tropical rainforests is one of the most complex
and debated questions in evolutionary biology. Among the mechanisms that
have been proposed to explain diversification in the tropics is the idea
that mode of speciation might differ with latitude. A long-standing hypothesis,
first proposed by Wallace (1878) and developed by Dobzhansky and Schemske,
is that biotic interactions play a greater role in the adaptation of tropical
populations than do abiotic factors, whereas the converse holds for temperate-zone
populations . . . --G. Léotard et al., July 2008. Journal
of Evolutionary Biology 21(4): 1133.
each of his major biogeographical regions, Wallace (1876) distinguished between
four subregions. For the Palearctic he recognized a Northern European, Southern
European, Siberian, and Manchourian subregion. However, it had already been
pointed out by contemporary workers that Wallace's separation of the European
and Siberian subregions, for example, was based on insufficient data and
that the criteria used were more geographic than faunistic. Nevertheless,
in later years Wallace's boundary between the European and Siberian subregions,
running along the Ural Mountains and the Caspian Sea, has been used to demarcate
western subsections of the Palearctic Region . . . --Mansour Aliabadian et
al., 2008. Contributions to Zoology 77(2): 101.
. . Wallace writes that, among human beings, there is no evident distinction
between the mental powers of the most primitive and the most advanced . . .
From this manner of observation it follows, Wallace argued, that characteristic
human abilities must be latent in primitive man, existing somehow as an unopened
gift—the entryway to a world that primitive man himself does not possess and
would not recognize. But the idea that a biological species might possess latent
powers makes no sense in Darwinian terms. It suggests the forbidden doctrine
that evolutionary advantages were frontloaded, far away and long ago. It is
in conflict with the Darwinian principle that just as useful genes are selected
for cultivation and advancement, useless genes are subject to negative selection
pressure and must therefore drain away into the sands of time. Wallace identified
a frank conflict between his own theory and what seemed to him to be obvious
facts about the solidity and unchangeability of human nature. That conflict
persists; it has not been resolved . . . --David Berlinski, April 2008. Commentary 125(4): 35.
. . Alfred Russel Wallace (1853) was perhaps the first naturalist to write about
the white-water, clear-water, and black-water river types of the Amazon basin
and to relate the color of tributaries to the nature of their drainage basins.
Wallace astutely linked the sediment load of white-water tributaries to erosion
in their steep Andean headwaters, and identified clear-water rivers with the
crystalline "mountains of Brazil" (the Guyana and Brazilian shields). He knew
that black-water rivers emerged from lowland sources, and he correctly attributed
their dark coloring to leaching of "decaying leaves, roots, and other vegetable
matter" (Wallace 1853) . . . --Michael E. McClain & Robert J. Nainan, April
2008. BioScience 58(4): 325.
While he maintained
that 'social heredity' was consistent with the theory of evolution by natural
selection, Baldwin followed Wallace in claiming that humans had evolved to
such a degree of conscious intelligence that they had freed themselves from
the pressures of natural selection, and surmounted instinctual constraints
on behavior: 'intelligence and the social life which it makes possible so far
control the acquisitions of life to limit the action of natural selection as
a law of evolution.' In this fashion Baldwin defended human freedom against the
hereditarian determinism of Darwin's theory of evolution, by claiming that
thought and will had emancipated humans from the constraints of natural selection
. . . --John D. Greenwood, February 2008. History of the Human Sciences 21(1):
rejected the role of consciousness and purpose in human and animal psychology
and behavior--with the notable exception of Edward C. Tolman--but continued
to stress the critical role of plasticity and learning in adaptive behavior.
They also depreciated the explanatory role of inherited instincts, which became
the object of sustained critiques by behaviorist psychologists in the 1920s.
Like functional psychologists (and Wallace), behaviorists came to believe that
humans had developed (through evolution by natural selection) to such a degree
that they could surmount the constraints of their biological inheritance, and
exploit their intelligence to create a scientific psychology devoted to the
further advancement and improvement of the human condition . . . --John D.
Greenwood, February 2008. History of the Human Sciences 21(1): 118.
. . . In other words, as Wallace so clearly
realized, human symbolic reasoning is not simply an extrapolation of this extended
history, simply a little bit more of the same. It is, instead, something truly
new and unpredicted by what went before—even by the increase in the mass of
metabolically expensive brain tissue that seems to have independently characterized
several lineages within the genus Homo, though it was clearly dependent
on this development. And while Wallace was regrettably unable to profit from
our modern perspective, today it is possible to see that the origin of modern
human consciousness must have been an emergent event, whereby an entirely unanticipated
level of complexity was achieved by a sheer chance coincidence of acquisitions
. . . --Ian Tattersall, 2008. Comparative Cognition & Behavior Reviews 3:
Researchers of animal coloration have noted
the perplexing nature of egg pigmentation in open-nesting birds (i.e., birds
whose nests are not in cavities or enclosed by a dome). One of the founders
of the theory of natural selection wrote "the colours of birds' eggs have long
been a difficulty on the theory of adaptive coloration, because, in so many
cases it has not been easy to see what can be the use of the particular colours,
which are often so bright and conspicuous that they seem intended to attract
attention rather than to be concealed" (Wallace 1890). Wallace went on to argue
that bird eggs are well camouflaged when viewed from below via light penetrating
the nest . . . --David Westmoreland & Richard A. Kiltie, November 2007. Journal
of Avian Biology 38(6): 686-687.
Alfred Wallace, Darwin's contemporary and
rival, argued that when species hybridize, natural selection favors individuals
who are more fussy about whom they mate with, which therefore increases female
discrimination of males from different species. Modern evolutionary genetics
has questioned the importance of the "Wallace effect" (also known as "reinforcement")
because genetic recombination between female discrimination and male trait genes
would scramble combinations of loci that favor speciation. Several solutions
to this have been proposed, including close genetic linkage of such loci. A
simpler possibility is sexual imprinting, which causes a female to prefer males
that resemble her father . . . --Michael G. Ritchie, 5 October 2007. Science 318: 54.
While Chamupati largely ignored Darwin,
whose views of Hindu scriptures were hardly flattering, Chamupati was attracted
to the ideas of Alfred Russel Wallace, codiscoverer of evolution. Chamupati
noted Wallace's praise of the mind of the Vedic hymn makers who, despite the
"very limited knowledge [of Nature] at this early period, . . . could not have
been in any way inferior to those of the best of our religious teachers and
poets—to our Miltons and our Tennysons." For Chamupati and other followers of
Dayananda, Wallace was far more congenial than Darwin, for, despite Wallace's
espousal of some of the most theologically challenging aspects of evolutionary
theory, namely, random variation and natural selection, Wallace made considerable
exceptions. He insisted on some sort of "spiritual influx" to account for the
origin of life as well as of mind and morality. Accordingly, he was a much safer
corroborator of Vedic insights, at least in Chamupati's views . . . --C. Mackenzie
Brown, September 2007. Zygon 42(3): 718.
Using the theoretical framework of evolution
by natural selection, Wallace developed Crawfurd's proposal that the two distinct
aboriginal races were the Malays and Papuans. From his observations, Wallace
postulated an ethnological line dividing the Malayan and Polynesian races. The
position of this line east of the famous line dividing the Indo-Malayan and
Austro-Malayan bioregions demonstrated Crawfurd's hypothesis that the civilized
Malays were pushing the savage Papuans back from their natural border. Wallace's
ethnological line functioned to support his representation of two races as radically
different from each other, not only in terms of physical characteristics but
also in what Wallace called 'moral characteristics' (1869: 588) . . . --Daniel
P. S. Goh, September 2007. International Journal of Cultural Studies 10(3): 328.
Darwin's originality and priority are, strictly
speaking, separate questions. One can be original and yet fail to achieve priority
if, for example, someone else comes forward first in print with the same theory
without one's knowledge. Such, in fact, is more or less the case with A. R.
Wallace. No one, least of all Darwin, doubted that Wallace arrived at his theory
independently of Darwin, but Darwin was proven by history to have brought the
theory into print—if not exactly publication—first. Nevertheless, Darwin often
conflated the two issues in his private correspondence, referring to his originality
and priority almost as if they were interchangeable ideas . . . --Curtis N.
Johnson, Fall 2007. Journal of the History of Biology 40(3): 533.
At a given latitude, the most striking feature
of avian seasonality is the consistency with which the successive stages of
reproduction, moult and migration take place each year—not only on a populational
scale, but also within individuals. Day-length—the most consistent sources of
temporal information about the environment—was suggested to play a role in the
scheduling of avian annual cycles, in particular of migration, as early as 1876
(e.g. Palmén 1876; Wallace 1876) . . . --Timothy Coppack, 23 June 2007. Journal
of Ornithology 148, Suppl. 2: S460.
the organization of a forest preserve] . . . Although Wallace's proposal is
controversial and raises environmental concerns, it is important to recognize
that he was focused on key ecological issues. He fought to preserve in an unsullied
state the forests that had not been cleared. He also recognized that severe
ecological destruction had been wrought on the state of nature. And in this,
he contributed to a philosophy of ecological restoration by raising the issue
of how we are to address anthropogenic environmental problems. In "Epping
Forest," Wallace documented that environmental degradation had taken place,
as profiteers and lords of manors had destroyed whole areas of the forest. He
provided a reasoned discussion of the different temperate forests in the Northern
Hemisphere and an argument that recognized how the species found in a particular
location are, in part, influenced by the much longer, geological, and climate
history of the earth. In this, Wallace provided important insights and helped
open a realm of debate . . . --Brett Clark & Richard York, June 2007. Organization
& Environment 20(2): 231.
Wallace found fault with two aspects of
domestication as a heuristic for understanding adaptation in nature. He argued
first that the analogy was flawed: artificial selection requires an intelligent
selector, whereas no such force acts in natural systems. Additionally, he insisted
that the selection itself was fundamentally different, leading to intrinsically
different kinds of variation. Domesticated species, he wrote, "are abnormal,
irregular, artificial; they are subject to varieties which never occur and never
can occur in a state of nature: their very existence depends altogether on human
care; so far are many of them removed from that just proportion of faculties,
that true balance of organization, by means of which alone as an animal left
to its own resources can preserve its existence and continue its race."
Both Wallace's lines of argument find modern audiences, from those who see a
fundamental difference between the conscious selection of humans and natural
processes to those who argue that variation in domesticated species differs
from that in nature . . . --Jeffrey Ross-Ibarra, Peter L. Morrell & Brandon
S. Gaut, 15 May 2007. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of
the United States of America 104, Suppl. 1: 8641-8642.
The coloration of this genus of weevils
is among the most astonishing visual effects displayed in nature. Many animal
species that are distasteful to predators have evolved aposematism (they have
a distinctive, conspicuous coloration, which functions as a warning signal,
advertising their inedibility to potential predators). Wallace notes in a passage
on the genus Pachyrrhynchus that many weevils have excessive hard integuments,
which render them inedible to most birds, and our own dissections of this species
confirm their extremely tough exoskeleton. It seems likely, therefore, that
the stark coloration of this species is a form of aposematism. Further evidence
in support of this comes from the finding that a number of edible species, such
as the longicorn beetles Doliops curculionides and Doliops geometrica and the cricket Scepastus pachyrhynchoides mimic various Pachyrrhynchus species weevils . . . --Victoria Welch et al., 30 April 2007. Physical
Review E 75(4): 7.
Several features of the results give some
reassurance because they support plausible notions and other evidence that most
nonsynonymous mutations and many nonsynonymous polymorphisms are deleterious.
Our analysis implies that some 19 of 20 new amino acid replacements are deleterious
with an average fitness reduction on the order of five times the reciprocal
of the effective population size. These estimates pertain only to the subset
of nonsynonymous mutations whose effect are not so severe as to preclude their
becoming polymorphic, but they support other evidence that selection against
deleterious mutations plays in key role in shaping patterns of genetic variation
in Drosophila. Likewise, we estimate that [about] 7 of 10 amino acid
replacements that are polymorphic in samples are deleterious. One feature of
our results that might animate some surprise is the high proportion of amino
acid fixations between species that show positive selection, [about] 95% in
our data. This finding seems to reflect what Wallace called the "overwhelming
odds against the less fit" . . . --Stanley A. Sawyer et al., 17
April 2007. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United
States of America 104(16): 6509.
Given that phenomena strive for reality--that
is, to become distinct--then there must by default be a process whereby constitutive
elements are demarcated as 'included' and, of course, an opposite process,
whereby elements become the 'excluded'. According to [Charles] Fort: "It
is our expression that nothing can attempt to be, except by attempting to exclude
something else: that that which is commonly called 'being' is a state
that is wrought more or less definitely proportionately to the appearance of
positive difference between that which is included and that which is excluded."
This process leaves a trace, however, in the sense that one cannot subsequently
provide a full and comprehensive description of the thing in question. Even
Darwin, Fort argued, 'was never able to tell what he meant by a "species".'
Echoing Wallace's (1875) earlier concerns over the close-mindedness of modern
science, Fort argued that this body of knowledge was itself but one instance
of localization, wherein an attempt is made to separate out those explanations
which are deemed acceptable and proper from those that are not. The raw material
of the world becomes organized and interpreted to fit into preconceived notions
of how things should work. Slowly but surely, this drive towards explanation
causes a plethora of facts and events to emerge from this chaotic landscape,
each of which is seen to form part of an overarching pattern. 'A theory
feels its way through surrounding ignorance,' he suggested, like 'a wagon
train feels its way across a prairie.' And yet, 'Science relates to real
knowledge no more than does the growth of a plant, or the organization of a
department store, or the development of a nation: that all are assimilative,
or organizing, or systematizing processes that represent different attempts
to attain the positive state--the state commonly called heaven, I suppose I
mean' . . . --Deborah Dixon, April 2007. Cultural Geographies 14(2):
The conspicuous displays that warn predators
of defenses carried by potential prey have been of interest to evolutionary
biologists from the time of Wallace and Darwin to the present day. Although
most studies implicitly assume that these "aposematic" warning signals
simply indicate the presence of some repellent defense such as a toxin, it has
been speculated that the intensity of the signal might reliably indicate the
strength of defense so that, for example, the nastiest prey might "shout
loudest" about their unprofitability. Recent phylogenetic and empirical
studies of Dendrobatid frogs provide contradictory views, in one instance showing
a positive correlation between toxin levels and conspicuousness, in another
showing a breakdown of this relationship. In this paper we present an optimization
model, which can potentially account for these divergent results . . . --Michael
P. Speed & Graeme D. Ruxton, March 2007. Evolution 61(3): 623.
. . . Kantian philosophers do not have the
exclusive right to transcendental arguments, which can be and are used by philosophers
and scientists alike. For instance, physicists such as Stephen Hawking and Roger
Penrose have invoked the anthropic principle, the weak version of which was
anticipated by Alfred Russel Wallace (1904, pp 256-257): "Such a vast and complex
universe as that which we know exists around us, may have been absolutely required
. . . in order to produce a world that should be precisely adapted in every
detail for the orderly development of life culminating in man." More recently,
the biologists John Bonner and Richard Lewontin have offered transcendental
arguments for the modular organization of development as a requirement for evolvability
. . . --Werner Callebaut, March 2007. Acta Biotheoretica 55(1): 77-78.
In his extensive monograph of the genus,
Talbot, building on the earlier work of Wallace (1867), Dixey (1894) and others,
originally divided Delias into twenty species-groups, according to differences
in form of the androconia, male genitalia and, to a lesser extent, wing pattern.
Talbot noted, however, that the Australian endemic D. aganippe, provisionally
placed in the belisama group, 'seems somewhat isolated' on structural
grounds and is 'placed doubtfully in this group'. Wallace (1867: 349)
similarly remarked that, 'It is difficult locate this common Australian
species', and placed D. aganippe in the belladonna group . . .
--Michael F. Braby & Naomi E. Pierce, January 2007. Systematic Entomology 32(1): 6.
. . . In his notes, essays and correspondence
from the field, Wallace consistently emphasized species and genera, and separated
these descriptions from his rarer and briefer discussions of individual organisms.
The first passage above, from an 1857 article describing collecting in the Aru
Islands, is typical: Wallace provides an enthusiastic litany of species, families
and genera. It is easy to miss his distinction at the end of the passage, between
families, species and individuals, in terms of "abundance." Yet this
too is characteristic of Wallace's writings from the field. At a given locality,
families contain more or fewer species, and species contain more or fewer individual
organisms. Wallace did not collapse or confuse these levels, but carefully distinguished
between different sorts of abundance. In general, his natural history writing
emphasized species, with clear distinctions between individual organisms and
groups . . . --Melinda B. Fagan, 2007. Journal of the History of Biology [electronic file].
The contrast in the two
naturalists' writings from the field thus has two aspects. First, Wallace emphasized
groups of organisms, while Darwin described many details of individual organisms.
Second, Wallace clearly distinguished between groups and individuals, while
Darwin was more ambiguous. Both aspects can be explained by differences in natural
history practice. Wallace and Darwin's contrasting habits and working routines
in the field were shaped in turn by their different circumstances and motivations.
The two naturalists went to the field with different training and social connections,
different finances and responsibilities, and different theoretical interests
. . . --Melinda B. Fagan, 2007. Journal of the History of Biology [electronic
The use of soil animals as protein source
in human nutrition is still widely represented in indigenous populations in
most regions of the world and was first reported by Wallace (1853, 1889) more
than 100 years ago . . . --T. Decaëns et al., November 2006. European
Journal of Soil Biology 42 (Suppl. 1): S26.
. . . Knowledge about biodiversity remains inadequate and plagued by the so-called Linnean and Wallacean shortfalls (Lomolino, 2004; Whittaker et al., 2005; see also Brown & Lomolino, 1998). The first refers to the fact that most species living on Earth were still not formally described, whereas the second is defined by the fact that, for the majority of taxa, geographical distributions are also poorly understood and contain many gaps. As recently pointed out by Whittaker et al. (2005), these two shortfalls are scale dependent, both on evolutionary and on ecological dimensions. Although work done since the 18th century allows us to make general predictions of broad-scale diversity gradients based on current climate effects (see Hawkins, 2004 and references therein), we are far from a predictive theory capable of predicting species diversity based on complex environmental and historical factors acting at different scales in time and space . . . --Luis Mauricio Bini et al., September 2006. Diversity and Distributions 12(5): 475.
Here I present a critical review of the
literature which, when combined with the results of some comparative analyses,
suggests that just a few selective agents can explain much of the variation
in egg appearance. Ancestrally, bird eggs were probably white and immaculate.
Ancient diversification in nest location, and hence in the clutch's vulnerability
to attack by predators, can explain basic differences between bird families
in egg appearance. The ancestral white egg has been retained by species whose
nests are safe from attack by predators, while those that have moved to a more
vulnerable nest site are now more likely to lay brown eggs, covered in speckles,
just as Wallace hypothesized more than a century ago. Even blue eggs might be
cryptic in a subset of nests built in vegetation. It is possible that some species
have subsequently turned these ancient adaptations to new functions, for example
to signal female quality, to protect eggs from damaging solar radiation, or
to add structural strength to shells when calcium is in short supply. The threat
of predation, together with the use of varying nest sites, appears to have increased
the diversity of egg colouring seen among species within families, and among
clutches within species. Brood parasites and their hosts have probably secondarily
influenced the diversity of egg appearance. Each drives the evolution of the
other's egg colour and patterning, as hosts attempt to avoid exploitation by
rejecting odd-looking eggs from their nests, and parasites attempt to outwit
their hosts by laying eggs that will escape detection . . . --R. M. Kilner,
August 2006. Biological Reviews 81(3): 383.
Wallace's hypothesis for
egg colouring is intuitively appealing because it can explain why so many bird
eggs are white or speckled or some shade of brown in colour, and because it
is consistent with observations that more cryptic offspring are less vulnerable
to attack by predators. Furthermore, Lack (1958) found that a species' nest
site could explain some of the variation in egg patterning and colouring amongst
the Turdinae. He found that hole-nesters were more likely to lay white immaculate
eggs, whereas about 80% of birds whose nests were placed in exposed sites covered
their eggs in red or brown speckling, which he interpreted as an adaptation
for concealment. However, experimental evidence in support of Wallace's hypothesis
is rather mixed . . . --R. M. Kilner, August 2006, Biological Reviews 81(3): 385.
Why do organisms age and die? This question
has long vexed biologists. Alfred Russel Wallace first suggested that ageing
and death might be adaptive (Weismann 1882, Wallace 1889). In the 1860s Wallace
wrote "Natural selection . . . in many cases favours such races as die
almost immediately after they have left successors." Despite some early
support, this adaptive view of ageing and death was soon dismissed, to such
an extent that in the 1920s it was labelled a "perverse extension of the
theory of natural selection" (Pearl 1922). This has remained the case since
with almost all biological gerontologists believing that "longevity determination
is under genetic control only indirectly," and that ". . . ageing
is a product of evolutionary neglect, not evolutionary intent." Today,
there are three largely competing theories used to explain ageing; mutation
accumulation, antagonistic pleiotropy and disposable soma . . . --Calvin Dytham
& Justin M. J. Travis, June 2006. Oikos 113(3): 531.
When you ask beginning students why we age,
they usually respond that physical decay culls the old to make way for the young,
says evolutionary biologist Ophélie Ronce of the University of Montpelier in
France. That explanation carries a long pedigree—it dates back to Alfred
Russel Wallace the co-discoverer of natural selection—but most modern
evolutionists spurn it . . . --Mitch Leslie, 3 May 2006. Science of Aging
Knowledge Environment 2006 No. 8: nf12.
During his collecting expedition in the
Rio Negro and tributary Rio Uaupés basins (1850 to 1852), Wallace collected
and sketched a specimen that was most likely Tetranematichthys wallacei.
His pencil sketch of the specimen (Wallace, 2002: fig. 122) clearly illustrated
the elongate dorsal-fin spine, the ossified, curved maxillary barbels, the elongation
of the anterior rays of the anal fin, and the overall form of the head and body
characteristic of nuptial males of Tetranematichthys (note: the orientation
of the fish in the illustration is such that the mandibular barbels are not
apparent). Given that T. wallacei is the only species of the genus known
to occur in the Rio Negro and Rio Uaupés basins, we identify Wallace's
specimen as that species . . . --Richard P. Vari & Carl J. Ferraris, Jr.,
May 2006. Copeia 2006(2): 176.
. . . It was not just that science was monoparadigmatic;
its monoculturalism extended beyond the surveillance of the gaze to the fact
that the creation of the object had to deny the subjective self and its knowledge.
In relating to the other, modern western science either eliminated, assimilated,
ghettoized or museumized them. Science had no place for defeated knowledges;
the idea of an alternative science arose as a charter to challenge the current
politics of knowledge. It was that great dissenting scientist Alfred Wallace
who formulated the problem long before Thomas Kuhn. In his Wonderful Century (Wallace, 1898), a portrait of the achievements of 19th-century science, Wallace
begins with a celebration of western science and then observes that a science
at its moment of dominance tends to be coercive and to ignore competing theories
and hypotheses. Wallace believed that the success of science made it ethically
and cognitively imperative for the scientist to invent and explore alternatives
. . . --Shiv Visvanathan, March-May 2006. Theory, Culture & Society 23(2-3): 166.
Wallace's field practices fit best into
the survey tradition, which flourished during the shift from the 19th-century
armchair to intensive ethnographic fieldwork in the early 20th century . . .
Both survey and intensive ethnography were attempts to shift knowledge production
into the field. Long before researchers gave field ethnography rather than armchair
theorizing the highest prestige, Wallace was developing a greater role for regional
survey work . . . --Jeremy Vetter, March 2006. Journal of the History of
Biology 39(1): 98.
For more than a century, a debate has raged
as to whether death constitutes an intentional ontogenetic program, the so-called
Wallace-Weismann hypothesis, or the passive result of an inexorable accumulation
of defects. By accounting for benefits to kin, the former assertion becomes
more plausible. The inability to identify definable discreet mechanistic pathways
for programmed death has provided a major source for criticism of this theory.
Although evolutionary dynamics and pluralism may both contribute to the Darwinian
value of phenoptosis, intuitive appeal persists in the notion of an oligarchy
of functional hubs underpinning the many proximate mechanisms of phenoptosis.
Indeed, given its processes' central roles in apoptosis, the mitochondrion may
represent an ideal candidate to serve as one such hub on the level of the organelle.
The induction of cellular damage by reactive oxygen species has been noted to
be a mechanism of self-termination that encompasses all scales of biology. However,
we believe that identification of hubs that operate on the level of systems
as opposed to that of subcellular components may afford greater potential utility
for modification and correction. Endocrine pathways, particularly those involving
reproduction and circadian rhythms, have already been implicated in this regard
. . . --Anthony J. Yun, Patrick Y. Lee & John Doux, 2006. Medical Hypotheses 67(5): 1082.
Whewell (1853) was the first to propose
that the Solar System has a habitable region comparable to the modern conception
of the CHZ [Circumstellar Habitable Zone]. He termed it the "Temperate
Zone." In an impressive treatise for the period, Wallace (1903) enumerated
several planetary habitability factors, including obliquity, mass, distance
from the Sun, atmospheric composition, and proportion of water to land . . .
--Guillermo Gonzalez, December 2005. Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres 35(6): 556.
. . . In this paper, we describe individual-based
evolutionary model of aposematism and defense in spiny and poisonous species.
We show that with spines, aposematism is easy to explain by a route in which
predator biases are not out of sequence. Thus, aposematism evolves in our simulations
if predators: (1) can recognize spines as dangerous (because they are common
in prey populations anyway), (2) can use conspicuous markings to better notice
and evaluate the significance of spines (resulting in cautious handling), and
(3) can use conspicuousness as a cue for distinctiveness such that animals with
colourful spines are less easily confused with nonspiny edible prey (as Wallace,
, originally suggested for the general function of aposematism). . . --Michael
P. Speed & Graeme D. Ruxton, December 2005. Evolution 59(12): 2501.
. . . In the past, applying the logic of
adaptationism to such central and seemingly unique human capacities has often
triggered strong resistance. Wallace himself, although the co-creator of natural
selection theory, considered self-consciousness as too complex to be one of
its outcomes (Wallace, 1889). Note that his main argument was that the sense
of self seemed to constitute a radical departure from other forms of phenomenal
awareness. But this argument itself relied on the assumption that there is an integral self-system. Given that assumption, it seems indeed difficult
to consider the self as the result of a slow, incremental process of natural
selection, each step of which is conducive to better reproductive potential.
It is by contrast more tractable to evaluate the potential evolutionary background
of separate self-relevant systems . . . --Pascal Boyer, Philip Robbins &
Anthony I. Jack, December 2005. Consciousness and Cognition 14(4): 653.
often the case in evolutionary ecology, mathematical models have outpaced empirical
data and the theoretical basis of the Wallace Effect has been established in
more than 100 mathematical models. Supporting field data are less common, however,
and are rarely unambiguous. Part of the problem is in not knowing the origin
of the supposedly split populations: the only way properly to test the basis
for sympatric speciation would be to experimentally manipulate a population,
but the timescales of speciation are too long for such a study to observe incipient
speciation within the lifespan of a single research project . . . --Jeff Ollerton,
3 August 2005. Heredity 95: 181.
between Mill and Edgeworth, the classical economists' notion of sympathy was
attacked, and was largely overcome. The co-discover of the Law of Natural Selection,
A. R. Wallace, had argued in 1864 that the doctrine of natural selection did
not apply to humans because of ethical concerns generated by human sympathy.
Our morals do not allow us to let the infirm perish (Wallace, 1864, clxii).
In response, the co-founder (with Francis Galton) of eugenics, W. R. Greg, insisted
that if sympathy blocked the 'salutary' effects of the survival of the
fittest, such sentiments should be suppressed. So, when the 'law' of 'natural
selection' failed for humans--because of sympathy and ethics--the eugenic thinkers
who so influence post-classical economics proposed to rid humanity of sympathy.
--Sandra J. Peart & David M. Levy, August 2005. Canadian Journal of Economics 38(3): 950.
Another English socialist of a very different
temper, Alfred Russel Wallace, co-founder of the theory of natural selection,
took a different tack. The humane Wallace was a reformer but also a stout defender
of Darwinian inheritance. So, although he believed that English society was
increasingly dysgenic, Wallace rejected compulsory eugenics as elitist and barbarous.
Wallace proposed that eugenic ends could be realized by an expansion of women's
education and their political and economic freedom. Like Mill, he believed that
the law could reduce women's economic dependency, which, he argued, would work
to reduce the incentive for women to make dysgenic marriages. "Progress is still
possible, nay, is certain," said Wallace, "by . . . that mode of selection which
will inevitably come into action through the ever-increasing freedom, joined
with the higher education of women" (1892). He envisioned selection as "effected
through the agency of female choice in marriage" (1890). In leaving "the improvement
of the race to the cultivated minds and pure instincts of the Women of the Future"
(1890), the idealistic Wallace partly anticipates the eugenic feminism of Charlotte
Perkins Gilman . . . --Thomas C. Leonard, July 2005. American Journal of
Economics and Sociology 64(3): 782.
. . . At present, this genus of tropical
and subtropical America, distributed from the central part of Mexico to the
north of Argentina, including the West Indies, consists of ca. 350 species and
is confined mainly to humid forests or grows along the edges of rivers. Its
accumulated species diversity may be explained by gradual addition through geological
time. This process was proposed by Wallace (1878) and turned out to result in
greater accrual of species in tropical zones than in temperate regions. This,
as explained by the "museum model," suggests that a stable tropical climate
permitted the buildup of species through time . . . --L. Calvillo-Canadell &
S. R. S. Cevallos-Ferriz, July 2005. International Journal of Plant Sciences 166(4): 688.
(1878) was among the first to argue that the low diversity of the polar regions
is largely a reflection of past episodes of glaciations and climatic change
that repeatedly drove many high-latitude taxa to extinction, leaving little
opportunity for diversity to recover, and this idea has had subsequent proponents
. . . --Emma E. Goldberg et al., June 2005. American Naturalist 165(6): 628.
The conditions under which aposematism,
the conspicuous coloration of unpalatable or otherwise defended prey, could
evolve have long been a topic of speculation (Wallace 1867; Poulton 1890). A
perceived roadblock to the initial establishment of rare, aposematic mutants
is the intense predation to which they would be subjected by naive predators.
Conspicuous prey, albeit defended, are much more likely to be seen by predators,
and if predators are unaware of their defence (and do not show neophobia), then
such prey are more likely to be attacked on encounter. This means that rare
conspicuous mutants of defended prey should, on average, be attacked more frequently
than their cryptic conspecifics. A possible solution to this problem, first
suggested by Fisher (1930), is that gregariousness could facilitate the evolution
of distastefulness (and hence aposematism). Thus, if prey are warningly coloured
and aggregated, then an attack on one individual by a naive predator could lead
to subsequent avoidance of others in the group, often relatives, that share
the same trait (this proposal was the initial inspiration for Hamilton's (1963)
theory of kin selection) . . . --Christopher D. Beatty, Roderick S. Bain &
Thomas N. Sherratt, 23 May 2005. Animal Behaviour 70: 199.
The Darwinian theory and Wallace's original
theory can be formalized in terms of what is called today the carrying capacity
of the environment, usually denoted by K; in Wallace's words, this is the level
at which "the population must have reached its limits, and have become stationary."
Suppose that the carrying capacity of the parental form on its own is K, and
that the carrying capacities of the parental form and the advantageous variation
when they coexist are K1 and K2 respectively. Under Darwin's
theory K1Z0, whereas K2 is equal to or perhaps slightly
greater than K, so that the parental form eventually becomes extinct even in
a constant environment. Under Wallace's theory both carrying capacities are
greater than zero, with K1!K2, so that both forms can
coexist; if the environment deteriorates, both carrying capacities decrease,
and if the deterioration is severe K1 becomes 0, so that the parental
form becomes extinct. When the environment recovers, the carrying capacities
return to their original values so that both types can again coexist . . . --Michael
Bulmer, 22 May 2005. Notes & Records of the Royal Society 59(2):
It was Wallace (1855) who was the first
to recognize the correlation between geographic distribution and evolutionary
relationship. Wallace (1855) in fact described how a process akin to what is
now called vicariance might have produced modern faunal differences in the Galapagos
Islands if these now distinct islands were once joined. In effect, Wallace (1855)
was arguing that one way the geological world impinges on the biological world
is through the mechanism we now refer to as allopatric speciation. If speciation
is allopatric, species can disperse over geographic barriers (that have geological
or climatic causes) and become isolated, or geological or climatic changes can
cause populations of species to become isolated from one another by creating
barriers within formerly continuous ranges; the latter is termed vicariance.
In either case, the isolated populations diverge and eventually speciate . .
. --Bruce S. Lieberman, 11 April 2005. Palaeogeography, Palaeocimatology,
Palaeoecology 219: 25.
these definitions vary, the common emphasis is on the provision of a more stimulating
environment. Historically Alfred Russel Wallace may have been one of the first
individuals to provide enrichment to captive animals (Wallace 1869). Upon receipt
of an orphan orangutan in his camp, he fashioned an artificial mother from a
buffalo skin that appeared to comfort the animal, served as a surrogate mother,
and thereby enriched the animal's environment. Shortly afterward, Wallace received
another animal in camp, a cynomolgus monkey, and the two animals were successfully
paired. Thus Wallace's earliest attempts at enriching the animal's environment
included the provision of both inanimate and animate exemplars of enrichment
. . . --James L. Weed & James M. Raber, March 2005. ILAR Journal 46(2):
Wallace originally invented the concept now known as aposematism to describe
prey that combine warning displays with secondary defences (Wallace 1867, 1889).
More than a century later, the evolution of aposematism remains a remarkably
fertile and controversial area of research. Warning displays are still of interest
to researchers, in part, because the proximate mechanisms by which they operate
tell us much about predator behaviour and predator-prey coevolution. As originally
envisaged by Wallace (1867) and Poulton (1890), warning displays function to
enhance discrimination, to accelerate learning and perhaps slow down forgetting
. . . --Michael P. Speed & Graeme D. Ruxton, 21 February 2005. Proceedings
of the Royal Society of London, Series B, Biological Sciences 272: 431.
. . aposematic displays remain the focus of considerable attention because,
for many researchers, their initial origins contain at least two important evolutionary
paradoxes. First, it is generally assumed that before the first aposematic traits
evolved, prey were both highly cryptic and had effective secondary defences.
If secondary defences are costly (and they often are), then their presence in
prey already highly protected by crypsis is paradoxical: why pay for repellent
secondary defences if your enemy rarely finds you? Second, there is a better-known
paradox of warning signals, which also emerges from commonly held assumptions
about initial conditions. Ever since the seminal theoretical model of Harvey et al. (1982), it is widely taken that aposematic mutants must emerge
from defended cryptic species. When this is the case, new aposematic forms suffer
combined and highly effective barriers to survival because of their rarity and
their conspicuousness . . . --Michael P. Speed & Graeme D. Ruxton, 21 February
2005. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, Biological Sciences 272: 431.
. . . as Wallace
originally envisaged, warning displays might be conspicuous so as to be "very
distinct from the protective tints of the defenceless animals allied to them"
(Wallace 1889, p. 232). Hence a good reason that aposematism may evolve initially
is to prevent confusion with undefended prey. On its own, behavioural conspicuousness
itself may not be a sufficiently reliable signal of non-profitability to function
as an aposematic display. As we found . . . prey can evolve some heightened
levels of behavioural conspicuousness even when they do not evolve adaptive
secondary defences. Hence, some additional discriminative cue may be necessary
for defended prey to minimize erroneous attacks by educated predators . . .
--Michael P. Speed & Graeme D. Ruxton, 21 February 2005. Proceedings
of the Royal Society of London, Series B, Biological Sciences 272: 436.
The language faculty is one component of
what the co-founder of modern evolutionary theory, Alfred Russel Wallace, called
"man's intellectual and moral nature": the human capacities for creative imagination,
language and symbolism generally, mathematics, interpretation and recording
of natural phenomena, intricate social practices, and the like, a complex of
capacities that seem to have crystallized fairly recently, perhaps a little
over 50,000 years ago, among a small breeding group of which we are all descendants--a
complex that sets humans apart rather sharply from other animals, including
other hominids, judging by traces they have left in the archaeological record.
The nature of the "human capacity," as some researchers now call it, remains
a considerable mystery. It was one element of a famous disagreement between
the two founders of the theory of evolution, with Wallace holding, contrary
to Darwin, that evolution of these faculties cannot be accounted for in terms
of variation and natural selection alone, but requires "some other influence,
law, or agency," some principle of nature alongside gravitation, cohesion, and
other forces without which the material universe could not exist. Although the
issues are framed differently today within the core biological sciences, they
have not disappeared . . . --Noam Chomsky, Winter 2005. Linguistic Inquiry 36(1): 3.
. . .
Rohde (1978, 1992) expanded earlier suggestions that high-energy levels may
increase speciation rates (Wallace, 1878). Relationships between speciation/extinction
rates and energy may arise directly through the influence of solar energy on
mutation rates, and most literature on the diversification rate mechanism focuses
on this relationship. Alternatively, both solar and productive energy availability
may influence speciation/extinction rates indirectly through variables such
as body size and reproductive rates . . . --Karl L. Evans, Philip H. Warren
& Kevin J. Gaston, February 2005. Biological Reviews 80(1): 14.
. . adaptationism is usually traced back to Alfred R. Wallace, one of the two
great biological revolutionaries, who was also one of the forefathers of modern
astrobiology with his intriguing and remarkably prescient 1903 book Man's
Place in the Universe. This view is the scientific foundation of Schroeder's
solution to Fermi's paradox. Intelligence is an adaptive trait, like any other.
Adaptive traits are bound to disappear once the environment changes sufficiently
for any selective advantage which existed previously to disappear. In the long
run, the intelligence is bound to disappear, as its selective advantage is temporally
limited by ever-changing physical and ecological conditions . . . --Milan M.
Cirkovic, January-February 2005. Journal of the British Interplanetary Society (JBIS) 58(1-2): 65.
The first report of a tool-using parrot
in the wild was in 1869, by Wallace (2000). He described a black palm cockatoo
(Probosciger aterrimus) in New Guinea using a piece of leaf as a wedge
while feeding from kanary nuts (Canarium commune). According to the author,
after starting to groove the nut with its lower mandible, the bird held it in
its foot and bit off a piece of leaf. This was retained in the deep notch of
the upper mandible while the bird started to seize the nut once again, fixing
the edge of the lower mandible in the notch and braking off a piece of shell
by a powerful nip. Wallace suggested that the nut was prevented from slipping
by the elastic tissue of the leaf (Wallace 2000) . . . --Andressa Borsari &
Eduardo B. Ottoni, January 2005. Animal Cognition 8(1): 48.
. . . the Wakatobi Marine National Park includes
all coral reefs, islands, and communities within its boundaries and is centered
around the main islands in the Wakatobi archipelago. The area is considered
"a geological and biological anomaly" and is located at a zone of transition
between the two distinct faunas associated with the Asian and Australian continents.
Wallace (1869) postulated that the islands of Sulawesi had been isolated far
longer than the surrounding islands, giving evolution a much greater opportunity
to shape a unique fauna . . . --Benjamin P. Horton et al., January
2005. Journal of Foraminiferal Research 35(1): 4.
rhetorical world was as remote from Darwin's as their social worlds--they wrote
up their theories differently. Although a colonial infrastructure made much
of Wallace's fieldwork possible, the solitary English collector, living alongside
natives and dependent on their knowledge and skills, eschewed the rich imperial
language in which Darwin depicted evolving life. Wallace thought spatially and
described his theories in ways appropriate to the Welsh mapmaking enterprise
from which he first learned about native habitats. He wrote with artless clarity.
One searches in vain for conquering colonial imagery in his major theoretical
essays between 1855 and 1864. Here "organic beings" are continually
"peopling" the earth and making it a "theatre of life."
New species evolve under changed "physical conditions" in "an
unbroken and harmonious system." The faunas of "neighboring countries"
testify to their geological past, showing that new species were "gradually
introduced" as the regions became isolated. The arrival of "chance
immigrants" is often followed by "natural extinction and renewal of
species," and those organisms with "greater powers of dispersion"
and "a greater plasticity of organization" have "extended themselves"
over continents. The "regular and unceasing extinction of species, and
their replacement by allied forms" is an "established fact,"
contingent in every case on the quantity and quality of available food . . .
--James Moore, 2005. In David N. Livingstone & Charles W. J. Withers, eds., Geography and Revolution (University of Chicago Press): 121-122.
In The Malay Archipelago, Wallace's
most popular and widely read book, the only "empire" is Austrian,
"imperial" is a common species name, and only the Dutch, the Portuguese,
and ants have "colonies." "Aborigines" are always human,
"natives" are established residents (also marsupials in the Moluccas
and flowers in the Himalayas), and people wage "war," "conquer,"
and "exterminate" one another (also the flying opossum). "Competition"
too is a human prerogative, but no "invasion" crops up, nor any of
its cognates. Districts may be "overrun" and indigenous populations
"supplanted"; "inhabitants" and "enemies" of different
species may "struggle" and "migrate." Yet Wallace is remarkably
consistent--startlingly so compared to Darwin in the Origin of Species--in
omitting to cast living organisms in imperial Britain's image. . . . James Moore,
2005. In David N. Livingstone & Charles W. J. Withers, eds., Geography
and Revolution (University of Chicago Press): 124.
What role, if any, natural selection itself
plays in reproductive isolation in the earliest stages of speciation when populations
first begin to diverge has been a contentious issue since the late 19th century
when Alfred Russel Wallace (1889) advocated the idea that the low fitness of
hybrids should select for reproductive isolation between diverging populations.
This selective mechanism has been called the Wallace effect or (more frequently)
reinforcement. Support for reinforcement waxed and waned throughout the 20th
century, enjoying increasing popularity after Dobzhansky elaborated the theory
in the 1940s, going out of favor in the 1980s when theory discounted it, only
to recover more recently when new theoretical models turned in its favour. Prezygotic
isolating mechanisms have now been investigated in over 100 mathematical models,
firmly establishing a theoretical basis for the evolution of reinforcement under
the right conditions . . . --J. Silvertown et al., 2005. Heredity 95: 198.
Accordingly, we summarize four macroevolutionary
patterns exhibited by venomous snake mimicry as the Savage-Wallace Effects:
First, mimicry is more likely among closely related organisms that share a common
body plan (e.g., among lepidopterans, among fishes, and thus their specific
similarities (e.g., wing color patterns in butterflies) are representative of
evolutionary parallelism . . . Second, mimicry spanning distantly related organisms,
representative of evolutionary convergence, is more likely to involve planarians,
myriapods, fishes, snakes, and other groups with relatively simple body forms
. . . Third, among vertebrates, snake mimicry is unusually widespread because
of (1) and (2), and because venomous species can severely injure or kill predators
. . . Fourth, the origin of noxious attributes can markedly increase diversity
within a clade beyond that encompassed by unpalatable species; dangerous models
thereby make otherwise "unprotected niches" possible for harmless relatives,
and even for lifestyles not used by the models themselves . . . --Harry W. Greene
& Roy McDiarmid, 2005. In Maureen Donnelly et al., eds., Ecology
and Evolution in the Tropics: A Herpetological Perspective (University
of Chicago Press): 205-206.
originally by A. R. Wallace in the mid 19th century (Wallace 1852), the riverine
barrier hypothesis states that major Amazonian rivers significantly reduce or
prevent gene flow between populations inhabiting opposite river banks, hence
promoting speciation. In a phylogeographic framework, the main prediction of
the riverine barrier hypothesis is that sister intraspecific clades and species
will exist across major rivers rather than within major Amazonian interfluves;
furthermore, phylogeographic and population genetics data can distinguish between
primary divergence across rivers (predicted by the riverine barrier hypothesis)
versus secondary contact along rivers between nonsister taxa that diversified
elsewhere. A second prediction of the riverine barrier hypothesis comes from
the observation that the upper reaches of all major Amazonian rivers are narrower
than the lower reaches; therefore, a gradual reduction of the "river-barrier
effect" is expected to take place from the lower to the upper part of the river's
course . . . --Alexandre Aleixo, June 2004. Evolution 58(6): 1303.
. . . the possibility that at least some instances of similarity among distasteful species may have evolved through
selection to deceive predators has been frequently raised. Even before the publication of the theory of Mullerian
mimicry, Wallace (1871) proposed that "distasteful secretion is not produced alike by all members of the family and
that where it is deficient, protective imitation comes into play" . . . -- Thomas N. Sherratt, Michael P. Speed &
Graeme D. Ruxton, May 2004. Journal of Theoretical Biology 228: 217-218.
Alfred Russel Wallace was the first to suggest that aging and death might be evolved traits. In the 1860s, he
suggested that individuals are programmed to die so that they do not compete with their offspring. His idea had
some early support, notably from the influential German biologist August Weismann, but by the 1920s it had been
dismissed as a "perverse extension of the theory of natural selection". By the middle of the last century, the focus of
evolutionary theory on senescence had shifted to other theories such as mutation accumulation and antagonistic
prejotropy . . . Recent discoveries in nematodes, insects, and mammals of genes that, when mutated, increase life
span, have increased interest in the evolution of aging. In this article, I show that within a spatially structured
population, programmed death does evolve and suggest that it is time to reconsider the "perverse" theories of
Wallace and Weismann . . . --Justin Travis, April 2004. Journal of Gerontology A: Biological Sciences 59(4): 301.
and simple color patterns (often red, yellow, or white in combination with black)
are common among animals that are distasteful, noxious, or otherwise potentially
dangerous to their predators ( . . . Wallace, 1867). The common view is that
conspicuousness has evolved because it constitutes a strong visual signal that
is easy for receiving predators to detect, learn, and associate with unpalatability.
However, conspicuous coloration may provide protection against predators even
if the prey lacks chemical or structural defense mechanisms, because coloration
may elicit spontaneous avoidance behaviors in naive predators. It has been suggested
that bilateral asymmetry also may play a role in communication, but this has
been studied primarily within the context of mate choice . . . --Anders Forsman
& Joakim Herrström, January-February 2004. Behavioral Ecology 15(1): 141.
Although we have many species from most of the
major species groups and subgroups related to D. melanogaster in our
analysis, speciation patterns for independent species groups and subgroups need
to be examined with a number of genes to generalize these inferences. Nevertheless,
if the observed correspondence between the time of species divergences and paleoclimate
changes is true, it supports Wallace's hypothesis for a rapid species change
resulting from climatic change (Wallace 1870a, b). In the present case, the
factor is postulated to be climatic cooling in the Cenozoic. A major consequence
of this cooling was an extensive increase in aridification in the middle to
low latitude regions, which lead to expansions of savannas and grasslands as
well as the fragmentation of forests that were primary habitats of ancestral
fruit fly species and populations. The adaptation to the newly arisen dry environment
and the allopatry caused by the forest fragmentation are potential causes for
stimulating fruit fly speciation. The former adaptation is supported by the
distribution patterns of D. teissieri and D. yakuba, which
are adapted to forests and savannas, respectively . . . --Koichiro Tamura, Sankar
Subranmanian & Sudhir Sumar, January 2004. Molecular Biology and Evolution 21(1): 42.
Wallace, the mind overarched natural selection. He believed there was a more
daring, vertical movement that boosts life toward higher levels of complexity
and consciousness. After all, if evolution were merely a matter of survival
by adaptation, we might still be a planet of hearty bacteria. Those bacteria
would have their history, an eons-long series of variations and adaptations,
all responsive to selection, but without movement toward greater complexity.
For that matter, if complexity beyond the unicellular level were rare and episodic,
coming and going over the eons, we would still have evolution as Darwin explained
it. But in the only example we have of evolving life--our own Earth--we see
something more dramatic. We see a steady undeterred thrust toward a net gain
in complexity. The microbes continue, but life has branched out into an amazing
array of new species. It has been building itself up into ever more delicate,
sentient forms. To ignore that fact would be to ignore the defining feature
of evolution. . . . --Theodore Roszak, 2004. In David Rothenburg & Wandee
J. Pryor, eds., Writing the Future: Progress and Evolution (MIT Press):
Steven Pinker (How the Mind Works)
and Daniel Dennett (Darwin's Dangerous Idea) speak for mainstream evolutionary
theory when they insist that the mind was built up incrementally by way of small,
selective advantages in the same way as a bird's wing. They see the growth of
intelligence as wholly a matter of problem solving and toolmaking--practical
talents to which natural selection easily applies. They simply ignore Wallace's
dilemma, offering no reason why the mind should ever have developed beyond simple
counting, toolmaking, and enough verbal ability to coordinate a hunting expedition
. . . --Theodore Roszak, 2004. In David Rothenburg & Wandee J. Pryor, eds., Writing the Future: Progress and Evolution (MIT Press): 5.
argue that males can survive better by being smaller and more cryptic than females.
The importance of predation to the evolution of sexual dimorphism was first
stressed by Wallace (1889), who suggested that crypsis in females is favoured
because bright colours potentially attract nest predators. Recent comparative
studies, such as that undertaken by Martin & Badyaev (1996), seem to confirm
this point. In tinamous, reversed sexual roles and predation risks incurred
by incubating males may explain why they are less colourful than their conspecific
females. Small size and cryptic coloration are probably complementary strategies
to avoid predators . . . --P. L. Tubaro & S. Bertelli, November 2003. Biological
Journal of the Linnean Society 80(3): 526.
why small monitor species have radiated so dramatically through Australia, New
Guinea, and their adjacent islands, but not elsewhere, we examined the possible
role of Wallace's Line . . . In contrast to its influence on the mammals, Wallace's
Line is not a barrier to monitors--or is it? That depends on the adult size
of the species . . . Large monitor species (in which adults are greater than
four feet long) are just as diverse on lands east of Wallace's Line as they
are to the west, or for that matter in mainland Asia and Africa. Small monitor
species, however, occur only to the east of the line . . . --Samuel S. Sweet
& Eric R. Pianka, November 2003. Natural History 112(9): 44.
long been recognized that prey that possess significant defenses against predators
tend to be conspicuous in some way (Wallace 1867; Darwin 1871; Poulton 1890).
The contemporary explanation for this phenomenon, termed "aposematism" (Poulton
1890), is that there is "something special" about the educational properties
of conspicuous traits as a signal of defense. For example, it has been repeatedly
shown that predators learn to avoid unpalatable prey more quickly when they
are conspicuous than when they are cryptic. This theory for the evolution of
aposematism is plausible, but there is an important caveat. Whatever the underlying
cause of aposematism, it is likely that predators would evolve an enhanced psychological
predisposition to learn to avoid conspicuous prey precisely because such prey
tend to be defended . . . --Thomas N. Sherratt & Christopher D. Beatty,
October 2003. The American Naturalist 162(4): 377.
theory is wrong because random variations tend to worsen performance'. Thus
wrote Fred Hoyle in his famous book 'The intelligent universe'. Hoyle pointed
out three important things in this book. First, that the idea of natural selection
had been around for several decades before Darwin wrote The Origin.
Secondly, that it was Wallace's clear letter of 1858 that really clarified Darwin's
mind on the matter. Thirdly, and more important, natural selection as conceived
by Darwin and Wallace just won't work mathematically. The odds are stacked hugely
against random change producing even one new protein . . . --Anthony K. Campbell,
July 2003. Astrophysics and Space Science 285(2): 571.
to the theory of sexual selection, Darwin (1859, 1872) developed this novel
concept but did not describe the function of this behaviour (for instance, the
role of the male peacock's tale). As Dawkins has pointed out, it was Wallace
who speculated that a male with brightly coloured tail feathers is showing that
he is a high-quality individual. Subsequent studies have shown that this idea
is supported by experimental evidence. Hence, with respect to the second mode
of selection in nature, Wallace developed the concept originally proposed by
Darwin (1859, 1872) and did draw the correct conclusions . . . --U. Kutschera,
1 May 2003. Theory in Biosciences 122(4): 357-358.
we believe Wallace when he writes about evolution yet ignore him when he turns
to spiritualism? Part of the reason is the context in which we receive his writings
today. Spiritualism is now out of fashion, hoaxes have been exposed, and there
is no longer a social context for the idea of spiritualism. The experiments,
while repeatable in Wallace's day, are no longer repeatable, and thus they fail
one of the hallmarks of the scientific method. But they were repeatable then!
When one reads Wallace's works, one is struck by how he acted with complete
warrant in exploring spiritualism scientifically. As Kuhn has demonstrated,
Wallace was operating under the social constructs of his day . . . --Steven
L. Peck, March 2003. Zygon 38(1): 11.
As we shall show, the concept of the diorama emerged from the construction of biogeographical zones.
Moreover, the concept of biogeographical zones not only triggered the vision of the diorama as its "musee
imaginaire" but, from the very beginning, theorizing on biogeographical zones was captured by visual means such
as maps and illustrations. These images had a strong impact on the emergence of dioramic displays by providing
two-dimensional forerunners for what were later implemented as three-dimensional museum installations. As we
show in this paper, the new mode of illustration introduced by Wallace in 1876 formed a crucial influence. In The
Geographical Distribution of Animals Wallace elected to illustrate different biogeographical zones by the
simultaneous display of animals from different taxa against an ecologically appropriate background. By and large,
each animal was itself in some way unique to its zone and could potentially have been used as a surrogate for the
zone . . . --Julia Voss & Sahotra Sarkar, February 2003. Philosophy & Geography 6(1): 61.
insisted that none of these suggestions went to the heart of the problem. None
of these people had suggested anything more than some 'force'--but force
is a cause of motion, not a cause of organization. There must be something more
than merely a force. There must be some agency that guides and coordinates the
process which builds up that infinitely complex machine, the living organism.
Wallace thought of the cell as being not only self-repairing, but also self-renewing,
self-multiplying, self-adapting to its ever-changing environment, so as to be,
potentially, everlasting . . . --Roger Steer, 2003. In his Letter to an Influential
Atheist (Authentic Lifestyle): 27.
The co-inventor of evolutionary theory,
Alfred Russel Wallace, was aware of the significance of Darwin's views. In his
book, Darwinism, (originally published in 1890) Wallace took pains to
distance himself from Darwin on the question of human capacities. He pointed
to the mistake that someone might make by conjecturing that all geological changes
are due to factors such as flooding, volcanic activity, the action of the wind
and the sun, and so on while overlooking the special contribution made by glaciation.
Glaciation is an important cause of change, but is radically different from
the other causes of geological change. By analogy, Wallace argues, "Because
man's physical structure has been developed from an animal form by natural selection,
it does not necessarily follow that his mental nature . . . has been developed
by the same causes only (Wallace 1897: xx)." Our mental capacities and
our morality, Wallace suggests, may be due to something quite different from
natural selection . . . --Andrew Brennan, 2003. Worldviews 7(3): 276-277.
In the second edition of Primitive Culture,
Tylor's doubts about psychic phenomena were suppressed and Spiritualism roundly
denounced as a survival of animistic beliefs (Tylor 1873). Yet, even the formulations
used in Primitive Culture betray an ambivalence within its scheme of
mental evolution that seems fundamental to contemporary scientific politics.
Tylor felt forced to class modern Spiritualism with "primitive" animism--the
kind of arbitrary classification that Wallace was up against in his critique
of Primitive Culture and in his earliest writings on botany. But Tylor
also had to acknowledge that Spiritualism was not just a survival but an extraordinary
revival of animism. He even went as far as to recognize the anomalous status
of Spiritualism within his progressionist scheme, because the former "is a truly
remarkable case of degeneration" (1873), the possibility of which Primitive
Culture was originally intended to argue out of existence . . . --Peter
Pels, 2003. In Birgit Meyer & Peter Pels, eds., Magic and Modernity:
Interfaces of Revolution and Concealment (Stanford Univ. Press): 258.
. . .
In Miracles and Modern Spiritualism, the argument about perception
was developed after Wallace denounced the theoretical fallacy of assuming that
because Spiritualist phenomena ran counter to our knowledge of the laws of nature,
they cannot exist. He argued that the physical phenomena that occur during a
seance, can only be explained by presuming invisible intelligences, which was
only "another and more striking illustration than any we have yet received of
how small a portion of the great cosmos our senses give us cognisance" (1874).
He compared the force exerted by these intelligences with light, heat, electricity,
and magnetism (ala "modes of motion" of a space-filling "ether") to show how
these "diffuse and subtle" forms of matter can act upon "ponderable bodies"
and become known to us only by their effects. The fact that we do not know this
higher sense is no argument, Wallace wrote, because likewise the "faculty of
vision" would be "inconceivable" to a race of blind men. "It is possible and
even probably that there may be modes of sensation as superior to all ours as
is sight to that of touch and hearing" (1874). The subject of divination, in
particular, allowed Wallace to elaborate on this? The clairvoyance that is at
the basis of divination led him to suppose a "new sense" that amounts to "a
kind of rudimentary perception, which can only get at the truth by degrees."
. . . --Peter Pels, 2003. In Birgit Meyer & Peter Pels, eds., Magic
and Modernity: Interfaces of Revolution and Concealment (Stanford Univ.
. . . The lesson seems to be: if you think hard about species origins, then it does not matter how you travel, you
will reach the theory of natural selection in the end. On closer inspection, however, the Wallace case offers at least a
few openings to those sceptical about the independence of the theory from its history. One move would be to deny
that Wallace did, in fact, 'co-discover' the theory of natural selection. Rather, he came up with a theory quite
different from Darwin's, and Darwin's overreaction in 1858 has misled historians ever since . . . --Gregory Radick,
2003. In Jonathan Hodge & Gregory Radick, eds., The Cambridge Companion to Darwin (Cambridge Univ. Press):
features of Wallace's account of the evolution of human mind and morals stand
out. First, he conceived the selective environment to be other proto-human groups--which
would have an accelerating effect on the evolutionary process, since social
environments would rapidly change through responsive competition. Second, he
proposed that selection worked on the group, rather than the individual--which
allowed him to explain the rise of altruistic behaviour, that is, behaviour
perhaps harmful to the individual but beneficial to the group. In his original
essay on the transmutation of species (1858), Wallace conceived of the struggle
for existence as occurring among varieties instead of individuals. He continued
to think in such group terms when considering the evolution of moral behaviour.
Finally, in a note to the published version of his talk to the Anthropological
Society, he mentioned that he was inspired to develop his thesis by reading
Herbert Spencer's Social Statics. Spencer's own early brand of socialism
had pulled Wallace to his side. In Social Statics, (1851), Spencer
had envisioned a gradual and continual adjustment of human beings to the requirements
of civil society, with individuals accommodating themselves to the needs of
their fellows, so that eventually a classless society would emerge in which
the greatest happiness for the greatest number would be realised. Spencer assumed
that the inheritance of useful habits would be the means by which such evolutionary
progress would occur, while Wallace believed natural selection to be the agent
of that progress . . . --Robert J. Richards, 2003. In Jonathan Hodge & Gregory
Radick, eds., The Cambridge Companion to Darwin (Cambridge Univ. Press):
basis of personal experiments and reliable reports from other scientists, Wallace
concluded that the universe is populated with a hierarchy of spirit beings,
some of whom are in contact with the human population on earth, usually through
mediums. According to Wallace, the spirit beings lower in the hierarchy, acting
through mediums, were responsible for a variety of paranormal phenomena, including
clairvoyance, miraculous healings, communications from the dead, apparitions,
materializations of physical objects, levitations, etc. More powerful spirit
beings may have played a role in the process of evolution, guiding it in certain
directions . . . --Michael A. Cremo, 2003. In his Human Devolution: A Vedic
Alternative to Darwin's Theory. (Bhaktivedanta Book Publishing Inc.): 102.
. . . Hume appealed to uniform human experience in his refutation of miracles. For example, Hume observed "it
is a miracle that a dead man should come to life; because that has never been observed in any age of any country"
Wallace noted two flaws in this argument. First, the appeal to uniform human experience, granting the truly uniform
nature of the experience, insures that no really new fact could ever be established. Second, Wallace questioned the
veracity of Hume's version of uniform human experience. "Reputed miracles abound in all periods of history,"
wrote Wallace (1896, p. 8). And they continued up to the present, thus nullifying Hume's assumption. . . --Michael
A. Cremo, 2003. In his Human Devolution: A Vedic Alternative to Darwin's Theory. (Bhaktivedanta Book
Publishing Inc.): 116.
. . . The space-filling ether of nineteenth century physics is no longer with us. But there are modern scientific
concepts that would allow Wallace's basic system to operate. According to deterministic chaos theorists,
immeasurably small random perturbances of matter can rapidly propagate into large-scale effects that are not easily
predictable. Scientists sometimes give the example of a Caribbean butterfly that by its wings sets off motions of air
molecules. These movements might eventually amplify to steer a hurricane from open sea into the American coast.
If the butterfly had flapped its wings slightly differently, the hurricane might not have hit land. According to this
idea, Wallace's spirit beings might make infinitesimal adjustments on the subatomic level that would quickly
propagate into observable spiritualist effects. One might also propose that they are somehow capable of
manipulating the curvature of Einstein's space-time continuum. They could thus produce gravitational effects, for
gravity is said to be the result of curvature in the continuum. Or one might propose that the spirit beings induce
slight changes in the quantum mechanical vacuum, which in some ways resembles an ether. Of course, this
approach is limiting, and rather than straining to find ways to explain spiritualist phenomena in conformity with
currently accepted physical laws, it may make more sense to come up with a new theoretical system that more
naturally incorporates both the normal and paranormal phenomena . . . --Michael A. Cremo, 2003. In his Human
Devolution: A Vedic Alternative to Darwin's Theory. (Bhaktivedanta Book Publishing Inc.): 128.
. . . Wallace favored the latter course, but his system has certain puzzling features. Although a dualist, he does
not appear to accept the existence of individual conscious entities before their earthly embodiment. According to
Wallace, there is an original spiritual mind from which matter is generated. Individual spiritual minds, associated
with spiritual bodies (souls), are only developed from and in material bodies, as they come into existence (Wallace
1885; in Smith 1991, p. 100). After death, the individual minds, as above stated, go to "the first grade of spirit life,"
where they experience progress or the lack of it based on their earthly habits. But if individual spirit souls can exist
after earthly embodiment, why not before? And why is there any need at all for earthly embodiment, which is not an
altogether pleasant experience? Why not skip that and go directly to the highest grade of spiritual life? . . . --Michael
A. Cremo, 2003. In his Human Devolution: A Vedic Alternative to Darwin's Theory. (Bhaktivedanta Book
Publishing Inc.): 129.
. . . Here is another problem with Wallace's system. In his works, Wallace details reports of varied spiritualistic
phenomena, such as levitation, apparitions, and clairvoyance, from his own time and throughout history. But he
ignores reports of transmigration of souls, which occur widely in almost all times and places. The reports of
transmigration are just as credible as any other category of evidence he considers. The existence of this phenomena
requires, however, certain modifications in Wallace's system. At death, souls would pass not necessarily into the
first phase of spiritual existence but perhaps into new material bodies. According to religious systems that
incorporate transmigration, such as the Vedic system, some souls, because of their strong attachment to their last
embodiment, do not attain new material bodies, but remain for some time as ghosts. This actually fits in quite well
with the observations of Wallace and other spiritualists, who found that the spirits they contacted often desired to
communicate with living friends and relatives . . . --Michael A. Cremo, 2003. In his Human Devolution: A Vedic
Alternative to Darwin's Theory. (Bhaktivedanta Book Publishing Inc.): 129.
of unthinkingly placing English society at the top of the evolutionary tree,
he argued that the evolutionary process had gone awry. In Wallace's hands evolutionary
theory ceased to act as a rationalization of what was and became a promise of
what could be. The key here was to hold up so-called savage societies as occasionally
more civilized and more advanced than the West. Thus towards the end of his
popular travel book The Malay Archipelago (1869), Wallace favourably
contrasted primitive morality with the 'social barbarism' of Victorian England.
If a savage society could attain a higher level of morality, then something
must have disturbed England's evolutionary progression. The villain was laissez-faire individualism. Human evolution--the development of man's moral and intellectual
faculties--depended upon the extent to which man was exempted from an individualist,
physical struggle. Yet Victorian society celebrated individualism . . . --David
A. Stack, 2003. In his The First Darwinian Left: Socialism and Darwinism
1859-1914 (New Clarion Press): 28.
of science have raised the suggestion that Wallace's version of natural selection
was not quite so Darwinian as Darwin himself believed. Wallace persistently
used the word 'variety' as the level of entity at which natural selection acts.
You heard an example in the long passage I have just read out. And some have
suggested that Wallace, unlike Darwin who clearly saw selection as choosing
among individuals, was proposing what modern theorists rightly denigrate
as 'group selection'. This would be true if, by 'varieties', Wallace meant geographically
separated groups or races of individuals. At first I wondered about this myself.
But I believe a careful reading of Wallace's paper rules it out. I think that
by 'variety' Wallace meant what we would nowadays call 'genetic type', even
what a modern writer might mean by a gene. I think that, to Wallace in this
paper, variety meant not local race of eagles, for example, but 'that set of
individual eagles whose talons were hereditarily sharper than usual.' . . .
--Richard Dawkins, October 2002. The Linnean 18(4): 20.
. . . Modern Wallaceans accept that peacocks' tails and similar bright organs are advertisements to females. But
they want the males to be advertising genuine quality. A male with bright coloured tail feathers is showing that he is
a high quality male . . . The late W. D. Hamilton, of Oxford University, was a prime example of a Wallacean in this
sense. He believed that sexually selected ornaments were badges of good health, selected for their capacity to
advertise the health of a male--bad health as well as good. One way to express Hamilton's Wallacean idea is to say
that selection favours females who become skilled veterinary diagnosticians. At the same time, selection favours
males who make it easy for them by, in effect, growing the equivalent of conspicuous thermometers and blood-pressure metres. The long tail of a Bird of Paradise, for Hamilton, is an adaptation to make it easy for females to
diagnose the male's health, good or bad. An example of a good general diagnostic is a susceptibility to diarrhoea. A
long dirty tail is a give-away of ill-health. A long clean tail is the opposite. The longer the tail, the more
unmistakeable the badge of health, whether good health or poor . . . --Richard Dawkins, October 2002. The Linnean 18(4): 22-23.
. . . A significant positive correlation between the proportion of range area above 100 m and total range size for
each species is used to suggest that past sea-level rises may explain smaller range sizes in low-lying regions and that
riverine barriers have been important in shaping the current distribution of C. cleonus group species . . .
Unfortunately, it is not clear exactly how important rivers have been or continue to be in the current distribution of C. cleonus group species because some of the central and lower Amazonian material is historical and the label data
probably generalized; in such cases, uncertainty remains as to which bank specimens were really collected from,
especially with the possibility of subsequent shifts in river course. Having said this, several lines of evidence do
suggest that rivers have been influential in shaping the current distributions of C. cleonus group species . . . --Jason
P. W. Hall & Donald J. Harvey, July 2002. Evolution 56(7): 1489, 1493-1494.
Some cosmologists, including Alfred Russel Wallace, Freeman Dyson and Paul Davies, have formed the
opinion that, in the words of Fred Hoyle, "the universe is a put-up job". They are expressing their marvel that the
values of its constants and the forms of its laws are just those which allow such phenomena as the formation of
planets, complex chemistry, life and intelligence. Some of them--including Paul Davies--go further than this. They
argue that the laws of the universe were somehow legislated with purpose so that planets, chemistry and life could
develop . . . Wallace, Hoyle, Dyson and others have made the point that even slight changes in some values of
fundamental or cosmological constants, or even in the laws of physics themselves, would imply a universe in which
life as we know it would not exist. Here are a few examples: If the Universe were much less dense, then stars and
planets might not form. If the universe were much more dense, then it would have stopped expanding and
contracted back into a hot big crunch long ago, possibly before any supernovae had had time to generate the
elements needed for life. What if the laws of physics were different? If the strong nuclear force were much weaker
than it is, then the electrostatic repulsion between protons would prevent the formation of large nuclei--hydrogen
might be the only element. If gravity were different, or if the geometry of space-time were different, then stars might
not form or planets might not have stable orbits . . . --Joe Wolfe, http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/~jw/danish.html
(accessed 3 March 2002).
that 'human nature' placed upon hopes of social improvement is illustrated by
Malthusianism. This was popularly conceived of as an argument about the limits
human nature--in particular the impulse to procreation--placed upon progress.
Thus the transformation sought by Owen in social relations was predicated upon
the malleability and educability of the individual. Human nature can be improved
beyond the limits set by present-day social relations, and education and environmental
reform both play a role in this. Did these ideas influence Wallace's views on
nature? In one important respect they did. Wallace's views on instinct and its
role in animal and human behaviour are different from those of Darwin and contradict
much of what passed for Darwinian psychology after the publication of the Origin.
When Wallace talks about instinct in nature, whilst not denying its existence,
he tends to discount the role of preformed, inherited behaviour and to talk
up the notion of learning. Moreover, he returns throughout his life to the same
proposition: the role of instinctive behaviour is small, that of learning relatively
greater . . . --Greta Jones, March 2002. British Journal for the History
of Science 35(1): 81.
. . . Wallace saw many instances
of mismatch between existing faculties and the environment. The natural world,
like the social, was a site of dissonance between wants and the environment.
The wants were relatively fixed points--the need for food and so on--but the
behavioural responses to these were malleable. He noted a species of bird which
in Africa and India 'eat only insects' whilst those in South America 'in great
measure live upon fruits which they capture on the wing as they do insects.
There is no difference in their structure but being in different countries surrounded
by different circumstances they are led to adopt different habits'. In downgrading
instinct Wallace introduced the idea there was always space for change, a potential
for specialization or variability in behaviour even among individuals from the
same species. Nature was not filled up with all that was possible for its full
exploitation. The potential spaces in it were not necessarily occupied nor all
the forms of behaviour found in natural organisms perfectly matched to their
environment. Wallace constantly repeated this. In the case of the anatomy of
birds wants and habits were limited by their structure, not structure by wants
and habits, but even with the same structure behaviour differed. There is always
room for modification and change. This contributes to the unsettled and evolving
natural world . . . --Greta Jones, March 2002. British Journal for the History
of Science 35(1): 83.
. . .The
difference in approach between Darwin's and Wallace's views on population is
discernible in their respective contributions to the Linnean Society in 1858.
Darwin introduces Malthus almost immediately and proceeds to litter his text
with phrases and analogies from the Essay on Population. For Darwin,
nature at war is 'the doctrine of Malthus applied in most cases with tenfold
force'. Along with the struggle for mates introduced in his closing paragraphs,
death is a major selective factor and death is the consequence of this 'enormous
multiplying power'. In contrast Wallace begins with the question of varieties
and the instability of species. He does not mention Malthus in his paper but
he does quickly turn to the 'struggle for existence' and to population. However,
in Wallace's hands the force of population increase loses that all-encompassing
ontological character it displays in Darwin's first public exegesis of his theory.
Malthus is certainly present in Wallace's paper but it is Malthus read by an
Owenite . . . --Greta Jones, March 2002. British Journal for the History
of Science 35(1): 93.
in favour of individuals that resemble the background has been invoked as the
probable cause of cryptic coloration in prey species for over a century and
there have been numerous demonstrations that predators preferentially feed on
more conspicuous prey items. Our study is, however, the only work other than
Endler's research on colour-pattern selection in guppies that has shown significant
directional selection by predators over multiple successive prey generations
when compared with a non-select control . . . --Alan B. Bond & Alan C. Kamil,
February 2002. Nature 415(6872): 612.
The evolutionism of Darwin (1859) and Wallace (1875) is radically different from all previous lines of thought
in that it uses the notion of contingency applied to living beings. Francois Jacob writing about this issue stated:
"with the theory of evolution, as with statistical thermodynamics, the notion of contingency became established in
the very heart of nature. Since Newton (1934), physics had been based on a rigid determinism, which extended to all
sciences. Evolutionary theory and statistical thermodynamics completely transformed the way of looking at nature,
mainly because they brought together and gave the same status of related and measurable quantities to order and
chance--two concepts which until then had been incompatible." . . . --Bernardo Dubvrovsky, January 2002. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry 26(1): 2.
The theories he worked out during and after his travels in the East Indies dwelled essentially on spatial
relationships, the reason to consider Wallace as being, fundamentally, a geographer. Consequently, geographical
information was instrumental for Wallace both for his biogeographical as well as evolutionary contributions to
biology. In several seminal papers and books he developed innovations in the historical reconstructions of faunas
and, thus, implemented zoological geography as a biological discipline within the framework of evolutionary theory.
It is, as Smith correctly stated, usually little appreciated how strongly natural processes are constrained by the
necessity of having to take place in a three-dimensional space, and Wallace's skill at spatial analysis is best
illustrated by his contribution to the biogeography of the Australasian region . . . --Matthias Glaubrecht, 2002. Verhandlungen zur Geschichte und Theorie der Biologie 9(2): 265.
Darwin's publication of Origin of Species until Wallace's publication
of his autobiography in 1905, Wallace was perhaps the most influential critic
of the idea that the bright coloration of animals could be the outcome of female
mate choice. Wallace saw no reason to invoke what to him was an unsubstantiated
assumption that females of non-human animals were capable of and inclined to
discriminate among males based on the quality of their ornaments (Wallace 1878,
1889). Instead, Wallace searched for explanations of colorful plumage that would
allow such traits to be understood as utilitarian, not ornamental and extravagant.
In his studies of bird coloration, Wallace did not focus exclusively or even
primarily on gaudy plumages. Rather Wallace focused much of his research on
the subtle differences among species and individuals in explicitly non-ornamental
traits like the buff, brown, gray, and green plumage of birds (Wallace 1878,
1889) . . . --Geoffrey E. Hill, 2002. In his A Red Bird in a Brown Bag: The
Function and Evolution of Colorful Plumage in the House Finch (Oxford University
. . . Far more convincingly than Darwin,
Wallace showed how most plumage coloration supported the theory of evolution
by natural selection. Most species, most of the time, are colored in ways that
appear to enhance their survival and fecundity. Wallace provided an explanation
for sexual dichromatism and drab female plumage that stands today as a triumph
of the power of the comparative method in addressing evolutionary questions.
Through his knowledge of the nesting biology of birds, Wallace showed that species
with exposed nests in which the female alone incubates almost invariably have
drab female plumage whether the male is colorful or not. Retesting and confirmation
of this idea have only lately occurred. Wallace also was the first to set forth
the idea that colorful plumage functions as a signal of species recognition.
This became the most widespread explanation for colorful plumage for over seventy
years, and it remains a too-often-ignored hypothesis in modern treatments of
plumage coloration. Wallace also foreshadowed the now popular and well-supported
idea that ornamental plumage could serve as a reliable signal of condition in
his discussions of vital energy (Wallace 1878, 1889) . . . --Geoffrey E. Hill,
2002. In his A Red Bird in a Brown Bag: The Function and Evolution of Colorful
Plumage in the House Finch (Oxford University Press): 10.
never seems to have suffered from the abstract doctrine of Philosophical Necessity.
Charting his intellectual progress toward science, he notes that Robert Owen
provided his introduction to "advanced views." Owen's "fundamental principle,
on which all his teaching and all his practice were founded, was that the character
of every individual is formed for and not by himself, first by heredity
. . . and second by environment." Here, as with Martineau, Mill, Galton, and
Darwin, philosophy intersects moral vocation, for this view requires restructuring
the moral and legal system, which is based on the view that "all men could be good if they liked." In a determinist system, people cannot be "deterred from future aggression" unless the conditions in which they develop are changed.
Hence Owen's "successful" New Lanark. For Wallace, implicitly, the vocation
of science and, one might hazard, the nature of his theory, grow from this insight
into hereditary and environmental determinism . . . --George Levine, 2002. In
his Dying to Know: Scientific Epistemology and Narrative in Victorian England (University of Chicago Press): 110.
. . . While Wallace defers to chance in amusing ways and exhibits a Darwinian modesty in relation to his career,
he sees a pattern of happy accident that implies something other than mere material causation. For himself, he can
argue that: "many of the conditions and circumstances that constitute our environment, though at the time they may
seem unfortunate or even unjust, yet are often more truly beneficial than those which we should consider more
favourable. Sometimes they only aid in the formation of character; sometimes they also lead to action which gives
scope for the use of what might have been dormant or unused faculties (as, I think has occurred in my own case)."
But often, he says, those circumstances are not favorable, and if they consistently lead to bad consequences, "the
system of society" is at fault. Wallace's willingness to accept inconsistency, to refuse the totalizations of a system
making, marks his autobiography and his scientific life, and surely was consistent with--either as cause or effect--his
own strong leanings toward socialism . . . --George Levine, 2002. In his Dying to Know: Scientific Epistemology
and Narrative in Victorian England (University of Chicago Press): 111.
An annotated facsimile of those pages of Alfred Russel Wallace's notebook recording
his consignments from the Malay Archipelago to his London agent, Samuel Stevens,
is provided. Records of individual consignments are linked with the stages of
Wallace's and Charles Allen's itineraries to which they relate and are amplified
from data provided by Wallace elsewhere; wherever possible, dates and places
of the despatch of consignments and of the dates of their receipt in London
are noted; and the dates of material becoming available for study are established,
chiefly from British Museum accessions registers. It is intended that this should
provide readier access to scattered collection data and should in particular
assist in determining what specimens may properly be regarded as types or syntypes
of the many taxa described by numerous contemporary authors from Wallace's material
. . . --Daniel B. Baker, December 2001. Zoologische Mededelingen 75(16-25):
precisely this latter characteristic, and the way in which Wallace's radical
positions intertwined--his faith that some kind of willpower or spirit, lying
outside or beyond natural selection, was responsible for moral evolution in
the human species; his rejection of the more crude, social Darwinian deductions
from biological theory; and his attack on the wastage of nature caused by rampant
industrialism--that make him a valuable exponent of both the potentialities
and the limitations of evolutionism as a philosophy. I am particularly interested
here, of course, in Wallace as a tropicalist, especially the concern he articulated
for the despoliation of tropical nature, a theme that emerged in his mature
consideration of his tropical experiences and which, though connected to the
new evolutionary outlook, was not a necessary outcome of it (Darwin, for example,
did not share Wallace's concerns about the consequences of tropical destruction).
This is perhaps the most overlooked aspect of Wallace's multifaceted contributions
(most histories of environmentalism make no mention of him). In this chapter,
then, I approach Wallace as arguably the most interesting student of tropical
nature in the second half of the nineteenth century, a writer of popular natural-history
books who was also a philosopher of nature, someone whose evolving representations
of tropical nature take us into the post-Humboldtian, evolutionary era, and
into the beginnings of the ecological era properly speaking . . . --Nancy Leys
Stepan, 2001. In her Picturing Tropical Nature (Cornell University
. . . It was in the tropics, especially the islands of the East Indies, that Wallace first became aware of the
ambiguities of the human presence in nature, the fragility of the evolutionary balance and the threat posed to it by
overweening domination for purposes of commerce and gain. In his mature writings, he expressed the ideas that
nature had not, in fact, been created just for human appreciation or consumption; that plants, animals and human
beings formed a network of mutual interdependence; and that it was Europeans' actions that had the most
profoundly negative effects on nature and culture, effects which could not be repaired easily . . . --Nancy Leys
Stepan, 2001. In her Picturing Tropical Nature (Cornell University Press): 80.
Line, essentially based on information about birds and larger mammals, with
later attempts to delimit the Oriental from the Australian realm, has had enormous
heuristic value and may even have triggered much of the biogeographic research
which has been carried out in the region. Even today, as exemplified by the
conference from which this volume arose, interest in the Wallacean region persists
and may even have increased. With the availability of new data in geology and
new methods, in particular for phylogeny reconstruction and for the measurement
of genetic distinctiveness, the area has become even more interesting for biogeographers
. . . --W. R. Erdelen, 2001. In Ian Metcalfe et al., eds., Faunal
and Floral Migrations and Evolution in SE Asia-Australia (A. A. Balkema
. . .
there was undeniably an 'individualist' accent to Wallace's program of interventionist
egalitarianism. Wallace was not a collectivist. His socialism was never an attraction
to a great and organising state. "Socialism" was to Wallace 'the use by everyone
of his faculties for the common good, and the voluntary organisation of labour
for the equal benefit of all' (Wallace, 1905). The use of the word 'voluntary'
in his definition of socialism is surely significant. Under Wallace's socialism
industry would be run by enterprises composed of capital-owning workers. Land
nationalisation would not amount to a system of state farms or agricultural
collectives. Rather, the state would be the sole owner of land, and would rent
out its land to a throng of individual tenants . . . --William Coleman, 2001.
In John Laurent & John Nightingale, eds., Darwinism and Evolutionary
Economics (Edward Elgar): 42.
. . .
The previous sections have used the case of Alfred Russel Wallace to scrutinise
the proposition that natural selection was a projection onto nature of a political
economy apologetic for a dominant class interest. This proposition is just one
manifestation of a general and familiar vision of science . . . Alfred Wallace's
scientific achievement, we have argued, makes for a jarring disconfirmation
of this theory. Rather than seeking to inscribe norms justifying the dominance
of one class, one race, one genera, Wallace sought to overturn such conventional
dominance: of the wealthy, of the white race and (we may add here) of men. And,
rather than being 'organically connected' to science's ruling elite, few could
be less connected than Wallace to the elite and its social formations . . .
--William Coleman, 2001. In John Laurent & John Nightingale, eds., Darwinism
and Evolutionary Economics (Edward Elgar): 44.
find that Wallace's Line is supported by the data he collected in the field
and suggest that Wallace's Line does indeed demarcate a major faunal break.
These results are in keeping with modern geological evidence on the origins
of the region, and hence with Wallace's original contention. Wallace's data
conform with his suggestion that the modern distribution of species reflects
the geological history of the land masses. Modern geological knowledge indicates
that the islands west of Wallace's Line comprised the single land mass of Sundaland
connected to mainland Asia until the Eocene. Similarly, many islands on the
Sahul shelf were also connected to New Guinea/Australia. The central islands,
however, have a far more complex and isolated history. Sulawesi, for example,
seems to be an amalgam of a number of different islands with different biogeographic
origins. Similarly, the northern Moluccan islands seem to have been very recent
arrivals for the eastern Pacific Arc which may have had closer contact with
Australia and New Guinea than their present location suggests . . . --D. Clode
& R. O'Brien, 2001. In Ian Metcalfe et al., eds., Faunal and
Floral Migrations and Evolution in SE Asia-Australia (A. A. Balkema Publishers):
. . . With the complex geological history of this region increasingly being understood, we now stand a far better
chance of assessing Wallace's real legacy--the extent to which species distributions are limited by underlying
geological history. This is a far more interesting question than arguing over the placement of arbitrary and
illustrative lines. Different taxonomic groups (with different histories and different dispersal abilities) will
undoubtedly differ in the extent to which they adhere to different biogeographic boundaries (as foreshadowed in
Wallace, 1877) including Wallace's Line. Such variations merely reflect our expanding knowledge of both the
species and the effect their geographical history has had on them . . . --D. Clode & R. O'Brien, 2001. In Ian
Metcalfe et al., eds., Faunal and Floral Migrations and Evolution in SE Asia-Australia (A. A. Balkema Publishers):
The Amazonian tropical rainforest harbors a species diversity that is vastly disproportionate to its geographic
area. Numerous hypotheses have been proposed to account for this, tending to emphasize aspects of the
maintenance or origins of the megadiversity. The oldest such hypothesis has its roots in the works of Alfred Russel
Wallace, who observed that the ranges of some closely related neotropical vertebrate species (primates, birds) abut
at major rivers. Indeed, Wallace defined distinct areas within South America, bounded by major Amazonian rivers
like the Negro, Madeira, and Amazon, which differed in species composition of communities. These and similar
observations have prompted the suggestion that lowland Amazonian rivers, of which there are many, may function
as effective barriers to the dispersal of organisms. This may have a variety of consequences for patterns of species
diversity on the Amazonian landscape. First, major Amazonian rivers may have played a significant role in species
generation by impeding gene flow between populations with the eventual evolution of sister species on opposite
banks. Second the expansion of species from their centers of origin may be halted by the presence of large
watercourses; therefore, they may be restricted to only one bank. Finally, compared with a species distributed across
landscapes without barriers, the probability of subsequent recolonization of a species that has gone locally extinct
on one bank will be lower because immigration from the opposite bank is less likely . . . All of these factors might
be expected to accentuate differences in species composition of opposite-bank communities . . . --Claude Gascon et
al., 5 December 2000. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 97(25):
Whether the great rivers of Amazonia have something to do with species origins or are simply biogeographic
sutures, the biotas of opposite banks ought to differ if the riverine barrier hypothesis is correct. Characteristically, in
Wallace's monkey paper, he not only presented his data on primate distributions in relation to major rivers in the
Amazon basin, but also suggested a testable, quantitative hypothesis: that the composition of species assemblages
would differ in relation to the width of the river, the difference thus increasing from headwaters toward the mouth . .
. --Robert K. Colwell, 5 December 2000. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of
America 97(25): 13470.
that natural selection plays in the origin of species has long been debated.
It is easy to see that if two populations are kept separate--by mountains or
ocean, for example--they will eventually become so different that they can no
longer interbreed successfully. Their differences may have evolved by natural
selection, but their reproductive isolation is merely a side effect of changes
that emerged for other reasons. This view seems unsatisfactory to those who
emphasize the positive aspect of selection in evolution. Both Alfred Russel
Wallace and Theodosius Dobzhansky argued that natural selection would reinforce
reproductive barriers between diverging populations. There has been little evidence,
however, that selection has in fact contributed directly to the formation of
new species (speciation) in this way. Reports by Higgie et al. and Hendry et
al., on pages 519 and 516 of this issue, provide examples from fruit fly and
sockeye salmon populations showing that selection can produce the kind of isolation
that separates species in the wild, and moreover, that it can do so within a
very short time (a dozen or so generations) . . . --Nick Barton, 20 October
2000. Science 290(5491): 462.
less explicable is why the differences between Wallace and Darwin over the origin
of distributional patterns have been confounded. Apart from a single chapter
in The Origin of Species, Darwin wrote little on biogeography, yet
his views on the efficacy of dispersal dominated biogeographical theory until
relatively recently. I think the answer lies in Wallace being too far ahead
of his time. I have often wondered what Wallace would have thought about modern
geological evidence concerning the origin of Indonesia, and I am convinced it
would have given him the key to understanding the distributional patterns he
described in Malay Archipelago. The problem, of course, was that this
evidence was not available until a century later. Given the lack of credible
alternative explanations and the pressure from Darwin to conform to accepted
ideas, Wallace was unable to develop his own theory fully. Over time his original
thoughts were lost and his name became associated with Darwin's idea of dispersal.
A reappraisal of Wallace's work on its own terms seems long overdue and would
be a fitting millennial tribute to an outstanding scientist . . . --B. Michaux,
January 2000. Journal of Biogeography 27(1): 221-222.
. . .
Florence Clemens was the first to show how Conrad made use of Wallace's work
in his fiction. She demonstrated how, in Lord Jim, Conrad used Wallace's
account of his visit to the Rajah of Goa as the basis of his description of
Doramin's household; how he used Wallace's account of his friend, Mr. Mesman,
in describing Stein; how he drew on Wallace's own experiences for his presentation
of Stein's activities as a naturalist. She argued that Conrad used The Malay
Archipelago, in particular, 'for backgrounds with which he was unfamiliar'.
Conrad, for example, had never visited Bali or Timor: 'all the information which
Dain Maroola of Almayer's Folly gave Nina Almayer about his country
on Bali could have been gleaned' from Wallace; similarly, 'all that is told
in Victory of the Timor scene and government' in the account of Morrison's
experiences in Delli derives from Wallace also. The Malay Archipelago was acknowledged by Conrad as one of the sources for his Malay fiction . . .
--Robert Hampson, 2000. In his Cross-Cultural Encounters in Joseph Conrad's
Malay Fiction (Palgrave): 73.
forests of the Amazon Basin contain a disproportionately large fraction of global
species diversity. A number of vicariant speciation mechanisms have been presented
to explain this high diversity. These hypotheses share the idea that historical
and geographically pervasive barriers to gene flow have facilitated speciation
in allopatry across much of Amazonia, but obviously differ with respect to the
identity, location and duration of these barriers. The oldest of these, the
riverine barrier hypothesis, derives from observations of animal distributions
made by Wallace (1849, 1876). It posits a role for major Amazonian water courses
in impeding gene flow between populations on opposite banks. The predictions
for this hypothesis include that (i) many recently evolved sister taxa occupy
opposite banks of large rivers, (ii) levels of genetic differentiation between
populations on opposite river banks increases with increasing river width and
flow rate and (iii) taxa of the upland terra firme forest show higher levels
of differentiation across rivers than taxa of the seasonally flooded varzea
forests found adjacent to the river. This last prediction assumes that the strength
of the barrier to gene flow is greater for exclusively terra firme species because
it consists of both the river itself plus the varzea forests of both river banks
. . . --S. C. Lougheed et al., September 1999. Proceedings of The
Royal Society of London B 266: 1829.
. . .the
"pan-selectionist" view that variation is potentially available in all directions
from any given phyletic starting-point, and that selection determines which
subset of variants prevails. The alternative is the "developmental constraint"
view that many of the gaps we observe between different morphologies do not
arise from the non-adaptiveness of the absent forms but rather from the difficulty
of making them through an ontogenetic process. The pan-selectionist view can
be traced back to Wallace (1870), who considered variation to be omnipresent
and available in all phenotypic directions imaginable, apparently without even
a quantitative bias in any direction. He refers to "Universal variability--small
in amount but in every direction", and Mayo (1983) boldly states that "The major
constraint on natural selection as an agent of change is natural selection as
a stabilizing force", apparently relegating any kind of developmental constraint to a minor role at best . . . --Wallace Arthur & Malcolm Farrow,
June 1999. Journal of Theoretical Biology 200: 183-184.
Under Wallace's scheme, the event that concerns Romanes--the initiation of the speciation process--already has
taken place. Wallace deals with events subsequent to the process of reproductive isolation. The idea that the
infertility he notes might relate to what Romanes proposed does not occur to Wallace. In a separate section of his
book he describes physiological selection as "another form of infertility," and then proceeds to attack the theory . . .
--Donald R. Forsdyke, Spring 1999. Queen's Quarterly 106(1): 121.
first essay on the origin of the colour sense was published simultaneously with,
but independently of, Gladstone's paper. He had presented a possible evolutionary
route for animal colour vision, starting with perception of degrees of brightness,
ending with perception of colours according to wave length. In his view, green
and blue would have been the first colours to which the eye became specially
adapted, in accord with their universal presence in foliage and sky, as well
as their soothing influence. Reds, yellows and violets would follow, as present
in small amounts, offering great contrast, and useful to animals hunting for
food and mates. This essay was revised and republished a year later, with specific
response to Gladstone (and through him, to Magnus and Geiger). 'These
curious facts' wrote Wallace, with regard to Gladstone's Homeric data, 'can
not, however, be held to prove so recent an origin for colour-sensations as
they would at first sight appear to do'. He pictured brightly coloured structures
as having evolved in response to an already present and well-developed ability
of animals, especially birds, to see colour, long before the arrival of man.
Wallace concluded that 'Man's perception of colour in the time
of Homer was little if any inferior to what it is now . . . owing to a variety
of causes, no precise nomenclature of colours had become established
. . . --Elizabeth Henry Bellmer, 1 January 1999. Annals of Science 56(1):
As the new century ripened and imperialist rivalries
increased, Wallace became convinced that a vast civilizational crisis was at
hand and that the very survival of the human species demanded the rapid overthrow
of capitalism. A few months before his death in 1913, he wrote (The Revolt
of Democracy), "There must be no further compromise, no mere talking. To
allow the present state of things to continue is a crime against humanity."
How ironic to recall his warnings today when billionaire arsonists have set
almost the entirety of Wallace's Malay Archipelago ablaze with their greed .
. . --Mike Davis, March 1998. Capitalism, Nature, Socialism 9(1): 77.
major contribution to the literature of reform is his corrosive criticism of
nineteenth-century society, through which he offered a human vision of social
reformation. He advocated recognizing racial equality, nationalizing land, giving
women equal opportunity for education and employment, decreasing military expenditure,
and saving the environment. His friend James Marchant wrote in Alfred Russel
Wallace: Letters and Reminiscences (1916) that "his greatest ambition was
to improve the cruel conditions under which thousands of his fellow-creatures
suffered and died, and to make their lives sweeter and happier." . . . --Charles
Blinderman, 1998. Alfred Russel Wallace. In Gary Kelly & Edd Applegate,
eds., British Reform Writers, 1832-1914 (Dictionary of Literary
Biography Vol. 190; Gale Research): 326-327.
. . . With other socialists Wallace believed that neither genetic endowment nor divine prescription was
responsible for the behavior of men and women, that instead the prime agent of social discord was bad government.
He argued that the state ought to provide equality of opportunity and that no one should get a head start through
inheritance: "To secure equality of opportunity there must be no inequality of initial wealth. To allow one child to
be born a millionaire and another a pauper is a crime against humanity." Andrew Carnegie would later share this
view on the inheritance of wealth. Wallace further argued that the state ought to own and manage railways and pay
the doctors. He envisioned a Ministry of Public Health, its doctors acting as servants of the state, that is, of people--and he added, perhaps mischievously, "they should be paid according as they keep people well and not ill." . . . --Charles Blinderman, 1998. Alfred Russel Wallace. In Gary Kelly & Edd Applegate, eds., British Reform Writers,
1832-1914 (Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 190; Gale Research): 330.
possible that the initial condition in the pheasant was plumage monomorphism,
with the cryptic female-type plumage subsequently having evolved under natural
selection from predators. In fact, this hypothesis, formerly defended by Wallace
(1889), is generally applicable to those birds, like pheasants, with a polygynous
mating system without male parental care, that nest on the ground in open habitats,
and are sexually dimorphic in plumage throughout the year. Also, it has not
yet been proven that maintaining a colourful and bright plumage is costly, nor
that it is a handicap for survival . . . --Concha Mateos & Juan Carranza,
November 1997. Animal Behaviour 54(5): 1211.
taken by Gregorius for modelling and analyzing the population genetic basis
of Wallace's theory of speciation will be extended to allow analysis of the
opposite case, where speciation is prevented by the reinforcement of genetic
coherence. In this approach, a mutant gene modifies the current mating preferences
without implying any advantage or disadvantage in fitness (including mating
success). The latter assumption is indispensable in order to avoid confusion
of the secondary effects of mating systems on fitness with their primary recombinational
effects. It also reduces the analytical problems resulting from having to disentangle
effects of fitness and mating preference on the evolution of mating behaviour
. . . --Wilfried Steiner & Hans-Rolf Gregorius, November 1997. BioSystems 43(2): 139.
Wallace took the lead. He formed The Land Nationalization Society on his own
lines, with himself as President. In Land Nationalization (1882) he
laid out his program. The state was to assume title to all land. To meet a conservative
debating ploy, he would compensate present landowners. However, he ingeniously
minimized the amount in a manner that tells us he knew the nuts and bolts of
his subject. Compensation was to be an annuity limited to the duration of lives
in being. It was to be based only on the net income actually being derived from
the land before nationalization--i.e. not from the highest and best use, and
not from future higher uses. All men and women (Wallace, like Mill, was also
a feminist) could bid to lease parcels from the state for actual use. In the
socio-biological terms in which he thought, this would consummate the natural
relation of man to nature. It would also let men alternate between industry
and agriculture as Wallace, a loving gardener, himself did. Wallace's Land Nationalization
was individualist, not collectivist. Individual lessees were to have secure
tenure, and tenant-rights to improvements. Rents to the state would be used,
not to engross the state, but to obviate taxes. These rents would be based on
the assessed "inherent value" of land, dependent only on natural and social
conditions. As a surveyor and a biogeographer, Wallace readily distinguished
"inherent value" from man's improvements to land, which he saw as transitory.
Tax assessors in most American states and other former English colonies distinguish
land and improvements routinely today, and many did then, too, although in England
itself the concept was somewhat novel . . . --Mason Gaffney, October 1997. American
Journal of Economics & Sociology 56(4:): 613.
Wallace, on the other hand, explained evolution not in terms of competitive struggles between species and the
environment, but in terms of the governor that regulates the speed of a steam engine by maintaining constancy in the
angular velocity of a flywheel. As Bateson puts it, building on Wallace's idea, the job of evolution is to maintain the
constancy of something--specifically, the survival of the entire system comprised of all species and the environment.
Darwin, according to Bateson, focused on the wrong subject--the individual species--when in fact the real subject of
evolution is the species plus environment. In fact, the species and the environment co-evolve, to use a term that is
popular among management writers today. Moreover, if you add the remarkable findings reached in the past thirty
years by biologist Lynn Margulis, this process of co-evolution sustains the total system through cooperative symbiotic relationships, not competitive knock-outs . . . --H. Thomas Johnson, 11 October 1997. Keynote
Presentation, The Deming Institute Fall 1997 Meeting, Washington, D.C.
Perhaps the effect of Wallace's line most relevant to us is its possible role in a decisive step of human
evolution. Paleontologists tend to stress Africa as the cradle of humanity, to view Cro-Magnon Europe as the site
where late ice age human culture flowered, and to neglect Australia as a remote outpost occupied by supposedly
primitive Aborigines. Human behavior took a Great Leap Forward sometime between 100,000 years ago, where
there were still no signs of art or complex tools anywhere in the world, and the period around 40,000 to 30,000
years ago, when great art and complex tools began to abound in Europe. Paleontologists usually assume that this
development began among humans in Africa or the Mideast, then spread to Europe and finally (in diluted form) to
our poorer cousins in aboriginal Australia. But anatomically modern humans appeared in Australia before they did
in Europe--probably by 60,000 years ago and possibly even earlier. To reach Australia, the protohumans who had
reached Asia from Africa around one million years ago (as attested by the famous Java Man fossils) had to cross a
dozen straits separating Australia from Asia. . . .Each next strait would have been a stimulus to improve our nascent
watercraft technology; each new island, a stimulus to adapt to a new environment and to invent new technologies;
each island's untapped rich resources, the basis for a new human population explosion . . . --Jared M. Diamond,
August 1997. Discover 18(8): 83.
Wallace's writings of this period make free use of the contrast between 'savage' and 'civilized', he talks often
of 'higher' and 'lower' races, and was clearly committed to a notion of long-run progressive change in organic
evolution and in human history. Yet there is no easy or simple mapping of the higher and lower, civilized and
savage onto the progressive evolutionary narrative. Social, moral and intellectual progress are differentiated from
one another, and lack of harmony between them can be catastrophic in its consequences. The hierarchical ordering
'higher' and 'lower' is sometimes used by Wallace to refer to inherited differences between peoples, but is also
sometimes used to denote levels of civilization, and to do so in ways which do not carry any obvious value
connotation. The word 'civilization' carries a negative as often as a positive valuation in Wallace's writing. Whilst
the civilized nations remain in a state of social and moral 'barbarism', uncivilized savages approach a 'perfect social
state'. . . --Ted Benton, Spring 1997. Studies in Travel Writing No. 1: 109-110.
. . . It is here that we encounter the central intellectual and moral tension in Wallace's thought, a tension which
was to bring about a growing gulf between his and Darwin's views on human origins and nature and which may,
indeed, go some way towards explaining Wallace's later involvement in spiritualist activities. Wallace's radical
political philosophy and his capacity to admire and respect the achievements, customs and social solidarity of the
indigenous peoples of the Amazon and the Malay Archipelago were increasingly at odds with his version of
evolutionary naturalism . . . --Ted Benton, Spring 1997. Studies in Travel Writing No. 1: 110.
not just Darwin's opponents who regard the analogy as evidence against the causal
efficacy of selection. A. R. Wallace, the co-discoverer of natural selection,
addresses the analogy in his opening comments of the Darwin-Wallace paper of
1858. "One of the strongest arguments which have been adduced to prove the original
and permanent distinctness of species is, that varieties produced in a state
of domesticity are more or less unstable, and often have a tendency, if left
to themselves, to return to the normal form of the parent species; and this
instability is considered to be a distinctive peculiarity of all varieties."
For Wallace, modification by artificial selection is limited and temporary,
and therefore causally inefficacious in the production of new species. If natural
and artificial selection were truly similar, then the analogy suggests that
natural selection is incapable of forming new species. Consequently, Wallace
argues against the analogy by emphasizing the differences between domestic breeding
and nature. "It will be observed that this argument rests entirely on the assumption,
that varieties occurring in a state of nature are in all respects analogous
to or even identical with those of domestic animals . . . But it is
the object of the present paper to show that this assumption is altogether false"
(emphasis added). Wallace's vow to argue against the analogy is inexplicable
unless he has embraced the view that artificial selection is inefficacious in
the formation of new species. Surely Darwin was aware of Wallace's views, expressed
so forcefully in the Darwin-Wallace paper, as he wrote the Origin .
. . --Richard A. Richards, March 1997. Studies in History and Philosophy
of Science 28(1): 76-77.
. . .
Darwin recognized some important distinction between domestic and natural varieties,
and happily agrees with Wallace on the distinction. Wallace, in the preface
to his Darwinism, likewise emphasizes his agreement with Darwin, describing
his views as complementary. "I have endeavoured, by means of a series of diagrams,
to exhibit to the eye the actual variations as they are found to exist in a
sufficient number of species . . . It will be found that, throughout
the work, I have frequently to appeal to these diagrams and the facts they illustrate,
just as Darwin was accustomed to appeal to the facts of variation among dogs
and pigeons" (emphasis added). Wallace certainly seems to regard himself
as doing something very similar to what Darwin is doing. That would be surprising
if he had thought Darwin to be making an analogical argument--given his earlier
rejection of the argument. Wallace argues against the analogical argument by
emphasizing the negative analogy between domestic breeding and nature. Unlike
natural selection, artificial selection does not maintain fitness. Consequently,
domestic varieties are unfit. Wallace makes this point in the 1858 Darwin-Wallace
paper . . . --Richard A. Richards, March 1997. Studies in History and Philosophy
of Science 28(1): 81.
point, however, must be marked if Wallace's future path--to the Malthusian moment
and beyond--is to be mapped. He embarked on a scientific career less a naturalist
than a surveyor, less a biologist than a biogeographer, less an evolutionist
than an ethnographer. For seven formative years his job had been prescriptive
economic geography. Parish upon parish, field upon field, he had set limits
to human livelihoods, marking boundaries, drawing lines. In later years he would
become an exemplary naturalist, but always boundaries and borders, habits and
habitats, concerned him. Once he even likened the "System of Nature" to a "dissected
map," the pieces of which could be assembled in a "mosaic." The picture is of
a crowded tithe map, where field presses on field, niche upon niche, until "all
gaps have been filled". Such was a surveyor's view of evolution . . . --James
Moore, 1997. In Bernard Lightman, ed., Victorian Science in Context (University of Chicago Press): 304.
To validate his inclusion of
plants formerly excluded from bedded-out gardens, Robinson turned to the writings
of the late nineteenth-century naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace. Wallace collaborated
with Darwin on his theory of
evolution and published his own Contribution to the Theory of Natural Selection in
1870. Robinson was intrigued by Wallace's 1869 account of his extensive
travels in the Amazon region and the Malay Archipelago, especially
Wallace's statement that "during the twelve years spent amidst tropical
vegetation, I have nothing comparable to the
effect produced on our landscapes by Gorse, Broom, Heather, Wild Hyacinths, Hawthorn,
Wallace's nationalistic preference for English scenery reportedly led Robinson
to plant such flowers as asters and
heather, formerly considered too coarse for fashionable gardens . . . --Anne
L. Helmreich, 1997, in Nature and
Ideology; Natural Garden Design in the Twentieth Century (Dumbarton Oaks Research
Library and Collection).
The principles regarding relations
between organisms and their environment set forth by Wallace clearly
informed Robinson's gardening practices. In an early essay, "On
the Law which has regulated the introduction of
new species," Wallace first developed his theory governing the distribution
of organisms. His fourth stipulation--that "in countries of a similar
climate, but separated by a wide sea of lofty mountains, the families, genera,
species of the one are often represented by closely allied families, genera
and species peculiar to the other"--underlies Robinson's theory
that plants from climates similar to England's
could be naturalized in the wild garden . .
. --Anne L. Helmreich, 1997, in Nature and Ideology; Natural Garden Design
in the Twentieth Century (Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection).
It is evident that Conrad read and assimilated Wallace's observations of the Malay natural environment.
Wallace as anthropologist seems to have had an equivalent influence. In terms of religious practices, Wallace
describes how 'the old juragan repeated some prayers' just before one of his more successful voyages; on the Patna voyage, the leading Arab recites a prayer in similar fashion as they cast off. In The Rescue, Lingard's dead lacar is
'wrapped up decently in a white sheet, according to Mohammedan usage', in a way highly reminiscent of Wallace's
response to the death of one of his Malay men: 'As my men were all Mohammedans, I let them bury him in their
own fashion, giving them some new cotton cloth for a shroud" . . . --Amy Houston, 1997. In Gene M. Moore et al.,
eds., Conrad: Intertexts and Appropriations: Essays in Memory of Yves Hervouet (Rodopi): 37.
Bates, Wallace and Spruce belonged to a new breed of scientist. They were not sponsored directly by the
government, like Huxley or Darwin, attached to Royal Naval survey ships; they were not salaried, like the plant-hunters employed by the nurserymen, or even promised a reward on their safe return, like Richard Lander. They
were scientific entrepreneurs, trading in beetles and birds and monkeys and dried plants, who needed to collect
extensively even to pay their expenses, let alone secure a possible income for the future, when they might hope to
work up their private collections and live off a store of knowledge and fieldwork rich enough to last the rest of their
lives. The British Museum assured them there would be a good market for their collections. They made
arrangements with a London agent and dealer, Samuel Stevens, who had premises in Bedford Street, just round the
corner from the British Museum--an excellent choice, as it turned out . . . --Peter Raby, 1997. In his Bright
Paradise: Victorian Scientific Travellers (Princeton University Press): 79.
earlier suggestion that a connection may exist between the perennial woody habit
of island species and reproductive strategy deserves closer inspection. He argued
that the perennial insular woody growth form primarily reflects selection for
longevity (rather than for woodiness per se) of insect-pollinated species
in an environment where insects initially should be expected to be rare, noting
that the resulting increase in size may have provided additional advantage in
niche competition among initial colonizers. Bramwell's studies of breeding behavior
are generally compatible with that view, since in Echium species studied,
the woody island forms were found to be outbreeding, setting only 0-11% fertile
seed in selfings, whereas their continental sisters as well as the herbaceous
island inhabitant E. bonnetii were preferentially inbreeding . . .
--Uta-Regina Böhle, Hartmut H. Hilger & William F. Martin, October
1996. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States
of America 93(21): 11744.
. . . If outbreeding is the primary selective factor in island colonization, pollination pressure will subsequently
favor rare, large, conspicuous inflorescences among outbreeders and, as a consequence, select perennial (and
therefore woody) habits capable of producing them, in agreement with Wallace's salient arguments. Under this
view, diversity of contemporary woody Echium forms reflects a multiplicity of selectable developmental pathways
toward longevity, rather than selection for specifically environment-adapted variants of such woody perennial habits
as schematically depicted in Fig. 3. In other words, insular woodiness in Echium might simply betray "survival of
the founders," and many differences between perennial woody habits could be nonadaptive . . . --Uta-Regina Böhle,
Hartmut H. Hilger & William F. Martin, October 1996. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the
United States of America 93(21): 11744-11745.
Alfred Russel Wallace foreshadowed much of the current thinking on adaptive mate choice. To Wallace colour
was merely a correlate of 'vigour', by which he implied health. A female should choose a mate adaptively by
picking the most vigorous male, and it would just so happen that he would also be the most colourful. We too found
colour to correlate with a variable, plasma proteins, that may be indicative of vigour. In addition, female kestrels in
our colony in mate choice experiments have consistently preferred males with high display rates (vigour?),
irrespective of the degree of genetic relatedness or experimentally induced parasite infection . . . --Gary R. Bortolotti et al., September 1996. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 263: 1175.
. . . The hypothesis that sexual dichromatism was nonfunctional and incidental to inherent 'physiological'
differences between the sexes was proposed by Alfred Russel Wallace. Wallace (1895) recognized that whereas
males of many birds are more brightly coloured than their mates, the degree of dimorphism varied greatly, with the
most common case being for males 'to have the same general hue as the females, but deeper and more intensified'.
Although it may be difficult to discount the role of sexual selection for extreme cases, such as house finches, the
common, subtle patterns of colour variation between the sexes may be more difficult to explain except as non-functional consequences of other biochemical processes. If such processes are fundamental to avian physiology, it
may explain why sexual dichromatism is so common in birds, and why reds, yellows and oranges are so pervasive . .
. --Gary R. Bortolotti et al., September 1996. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 263: 1175.
A final argument, "An Additional Argument Dependent on the Theory of Evolution," was added to the 1904
edition of Wallace's book. Especially interesting because Wallace was so closely involved with the evolution
arguments of his day, it is independent of the three connected scientific arguments and may be seen as another
aspect leading to the same conclusion. Wallace argued that since humanity is the result of a long chain of
modifications in organic life, since these modifications occur only under certain circumstances, and since the
chances of the same conditions and modifications occurring elsewhere in the universe were very small, the chances
of beings in human form existing on other planets was very small. Moreover, since no other animal on Earth,
despite the great variety of diversity of forms, approaches the intelligent or moral nature of humanity, Wallace
concluded that intelligence in any other form was also highly improbable . . . --Steven J. Dick, 1996. In his The
Biological Universe: The Twentieth-century Extraterrestrial Life Debate and the Limits of Science (Cambridge
University Press): 48-49.
. . . In conjunction with Barrow and Tipler's use of the Anthropic Principle, at the end of the century one could
therefore choose from the full spectrum of possibilities in the context of the extra-terrestrial life debate: a positive
argument, a negative argument, and the extraterrestrially neutral argument from design. But it is remarkable that just
when anthropocentrism seemed irretrievably banished from the repertoire of reputable worldviews, it returned in a
more sophisticated but remarkably similar form to that of A. R. Wallace, who in arguing against the plurality of
worlds at the beginning of the century concluded that "the supreme end and purpose of this vast universe was the
production and development of the living soul in the perishable body of man." . . . --Steven J. Dick, 1996. In his The
Biological Universe: The Twentieth-century Extraterrestrial Life Debate and the Limits of Science (Cambridge
University Press): 535.
. . . male-male competition was obvious to those who watched animals behaving in the field, and it coincided
with the Victorian notion of how animals should behave, thus never becoming controversial. Female choice, on the
other hand, was far from obvious in the field, and Darwin's contemporary, A. R. Wallace (1891), in particular, was
unconvinced by it. He felt that the power of discrimination by females was too weak to distinguish subtle
differences between males, and he also doubted whether female choice could be sufficiently constant over time to
select for male attributes. As Geddes and Thompson (1889) put it, consistency of female taste was "scarcely
verifiable in human experience." Female choice continued to be contentious until relatively recently, and although
there is now abundant evidence that females often choose their partners, the way that female choice has evolved still
remains a controversial area of sexual selection theory . . . --T. R. Birkhead, 1996. Current Topics in Developmental
Biology 33: 104.
The colors of the Amazon brought Wallace to investigate the sediment and substrata. He found the "almost
perfect flatness" of the Amazon Valley its single most striking geological fact. No mountains or even slightly
elevated plateaus rise from the plain until you reach the abrupt peaks of the Andes. Wallace's impression was that
"here we see the last stage of a process that has been going on, during the whole period of the elevation of the
Andes"--the gradual filling in of what was once the granite bottom of the sea with sediment brought down by rivers
from the Andes Mountains . . . --Jonathan Maslow, 1996. In his Footsteps in the Jungle: Adventures in the Scientific
Exploration of the American Tropics (Ivan R. Dee): 99-100.
In 1873, Alfred Russel Wallace posed a fundamental, and as yet unresolved, biogeographic puzzle: why should
the tropics contain a disproportionately large amount of the Earth's biodiversity? Wallace (1873) suggested that the
explanation for latitudinal variation of the diversity of plant species was directly related to climate. Wallace (1873)
wrote "As we approach towards regions of polar cold and desert aridity the variety of groups and species [of plants]
regularly diminishes; more and more are unable to sustain the extreme climatical conditions". However, in the case
of animal distributions, Wallace (1873) believed that climatic change associated with glaciation was responsible for
the impoverishment of the temperate faunas. In modern terms, Wallace proposed an 'equilibrium' hypothesis for
vegetation, and an 'historical' hypothesis for faunal patterns. In the latter half of this century, these two schools of
thought have diverged and undergone substantial specialisation, although no consensus has emerged . . . --D. M. J.
S. Bowman, 1996. Australian Journal of Botany 44(5): 571.
Borrowing a line from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner," there is "nor any drop to
drink" anywhere today on the surface of Mars. Not so clear is whether there has ever been water, water everywhere.
As was first demonstrated by Alfred Wallace (who concurrently with, but independently of, Charles Darwin
proposed the idea of evolution by natural selection), the lifetime for liquid water under present Martian atmospheric
conditions is measured in minutes. The former existence of Martian rivers or seas would then imply that the planet
had a warmer, more Earth-like climate in its geologic past. Interest in Martian water also stems from the fact that
we, like that famous canal enthusiast Percival Lowell, cannot envision any form of life existing without it. The red
planet appears lifeless now, but evidence for a warmer, wetter planet in the past might make a search for Martian
fossils plausible . . . --Harry Y. McSween Jr., December 1995. Sky & Telescope 90(6): 18.
. . . the nature of information conveyed by secondary sexual traits in mate selection has been hotly debated.
Darwin (1871) believed that mate choice was solely based on arbitrarily chosen features that were aesthetically
appealing to the members of opposite sex, although such chosen features did not confer any survival advantage to
the animal. Wallace (1889), on the other hand, argued that natural selection would not allow the selection of merely
ornamental features "unless the most ornamental always coincide with the 'fittest' in every other respect". The
modern interpretation of the utilitarian view of Wallace, or the so-called good gene hypothesis, has commonly been
invoked to explain human mate selection. Briefly, it is proposed that women, as a rule, can assess the "mate quality"
of a man by attending to his resources or high status because these are usually achieved through competition with
other members of the social and economical hierarchy . . . --Devendra Singh & Robert K. Young, November 1995. Ethology and Sociobiology 16(6): 483-484.
The theory of sexual selection by female choice, on the other hand, was greeted with interest mixed with
skepticism (Wallace 1889; Huxley 1938). Wallace fully accepted intermale sexual selection but had serious doubts
about the efficacy of female-choice sexual selection. His doubt concerned the adequacy of the proposed mechanism.
Can female choice exert a selective pressure that is consistent and strong enough to produce secondary sexual
characters of adornment and display in males? The status of sexual selection by female choice is still unsettled.
Modern studies have confirmed the process for some types of male characters, but legitimate questions remain as
regards other types of male characters . . . --Verne Grant, October-November-December 1995. Biologisches
Zentralblatt 114(4): 320.
Wallace presented a very clear interbreeding species definition, then immediately dismissed it in his treatise on
speciation of the Papilionidae of Indonesia. 'Species are merely those strongly marked races or local forms which,
when in contact, do not intermix, and when inhabiting distinct areas are incapable of producing a fertile hybrid
offspring. But as the test of hybridity cannot be applied in one case in ten thousand, and even if it could be applied,
would prove nothing, since it is founded on an assumption of the very question to be decided . . . it will be evident
that we have no means whatever of distinguishing so-called "true species" from the several modes of [subspecies]
variation here pointed out, and into which they so often pass by an insensible gradation'. Wallace is first saying that
it is practically impossible to make all the necessary crosses to test genetic compatibility. Second, since theories of
speciation involve a reduction in ability or tendency to interbreed, species cannot themselves be defined by
interbreeding without confusing cause and effect . . . --James Mallet, July 1995. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 10(7): 295.
The adaptive significance of cryptic female coloration in birds is an old and hotly debated issue in animal
behavior, being a source of great disagreement between A. R. Wallace and C. Darwin, the co-founders of Natural
Selection Theory . . . Darwin (1871) believed that dull female coloration was a non-adaptive consequence of sex-limited inheritance. Wallace (1889) proposed the hypothesis that cryptic female coloration functions to reduce
predation risk at the nest. Wallace's evidence included the observation that in many cavity-nesting species females
are brightly colored, and males are more cryptic than females in species with sex role reversal. However, these
results are also consistent with sexual selection theory. Field tests of the nest predation hypothesis are rare, perhaps
because extensive color variation among females within a sexually dimorphic species is uncommon . . . --Bridget J.
Stutchbury & Joan S. Howlett, May 1995. The Condor 97(2): 559.
Aging is notoriously hard to
explain in evolutionary terms. An early insight is due to Alfred Russel Wallace,
the co-founder of evolutionary theory. The gist of his argument is contained
in the following quotation (Wallace, 1865): "When one
or more individuals have provided a sufficient number of successors, they themselves--as
consumers of nourishment in a constantly increasing degree--are an injury to
those successors. Natural selection therefore weeds them out." In the following
it will be shown that this basic idea allows one to arrive at a quantitative
prediction of species-specific aging. It also enables a qualitatively correct
prediction of sex-specific differential aging in two species. The slower aging
of human females becomes understandable in evolutionary terms . . . --Reimara
Rossler, Peter E. Kloeden & Otto E. Rossler, May 1995. BioSystems 36(3): 179.
Tipler's newly published book (1994), The Physics of Immortality: Modern
Cosmology, God and the Resurrection of the Dead, for example, the author
claims "modern physics requires the God principle." By this Tipler means that
the universe is structured in such a way that the laws of nature must give rise
to intelligent life; and once formed, the resurrection of all intelligence--immortality--is
inevitable. "Science now tells us," Tipler concludes, "how to go to heaven."
While Tipler's science is modern, his argument is not. It is Wallace's argument
for the necessity of a higher intelligence clothed in modern physics . . . --Michael
Shermer, December 1994. Skeptic 3(1): 70.
. . .
With the primary evidence missing in this historical mystery, we can only speculate
on what really happened at Down. The extreme interpretation of a conspiratorial
cover-up is not supported by the evidence. If Darwin were going to rig (or allow
to be rigged) the editorial presentation of the papers to award him priority;
or worse, plagiarize from Wallace certain needed ideas (such as the divergence
of species, as Brooks suggests), why announce the arrival of Wallace's essay
and submit it for publication in the first place? Why not either just take what
was needed, or, if Wallace's essay added nothing new to the theory, just destroy
the essay and letter and blame the loss on an inefficient postal service, or
the mishandling of his mail at Down, or whatever? If one is going to accuse
Darwin of such devious finagling as delicate arrangements or plagiarization,
then would not the same guileful and scheming personality think of complete
elimination of Wallace's essay as a successful strategy? . . . --Michael Shermer,
March 1995. Skeptic 3(2): 83-84.
alternative explanations exist for the occurrence of symmetrical signals and
symmetry preferences in nature. It has been suggested that some morphological
symmetries arise inevitably from developmental processes. However, as Wallace
(1889) observed, the symmetrical body markings of wild animals are often lost
or degraded in their domesticated descendants. This suggests that certain symmetries
are not inescapable consequences of development, but are maintained by other
selection pressures in nature . . . --Magnus Enquist & Anthony Arak, 10
November 1994. Nature 372: 172.
concept of species as distinct reproductive units was carried over into the
post-Darwin period. It was stated by Wallace (1889), Eimer (1889), and others.
I will present Wallace's characterization of species in a paraphrased form.
A species is an assemblage of individuals which: (1) are modified in structure,
form, and constitution so as to be adapted to their particular conditions of
life; (2) are differentiated from other allied assemblages; (3) reproduce their
like: and (4) usually breed together (Wallace, 1889). Some students of species
in the early post-Darwin period began to characterize species, not only as reproductive
units, but as units of interbreeding. We see this in Wallace's fourth point
above: species are individuals "which usually breed together" (Wallace, 1889).
According to Poulton (1903) a species is "an interbreeding community". Karl
Jordan (1905) stated that the individuals of a species occur together in an
area and form an interbreeding community ("eine Paarungsgemeinschaft"). Wallace's
first point listed above puts adaptation into the set of characteristics of
species. This was an innovation at the time and one which did not become generally
accepted until much later . . . --Verne Grant, October-November-December 1994. Biologisches Zentralblatt 113(4): 406.
recent TREE article, Polak and Trivers say that the study of symmetry and its
fluctuations in biology was largely restricted to morphology and systematics
until 1953. However, in 1889 A.R. Wallace remarked that coloration patterns
of wild animals are more symmetrical than those of their domesticated descendants;
he thought that symmetry would help specific recognition. In one respect Wallace's
observation seems paradoxical. Domestic animals have less need to be cryptic
than their wild counterparts, but, at least for humans, the presence of symmetry
is a major failing of camouflage. Symmetrical patterning gives away animals
that are otherwise superbly concealed. The few cryptic animals that are asymmetrically
patterned maybe the exceptions that prove this rule, one example is the wryneck
(Jynx torquilla), an unusual woodpecker . . . --D. Osorio, September
1994. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 9(9): 346.
. . . the Riverine Barrier Hypothesis was first advanced by Alfred Russel Wallace in 1849, when he argued that
primate distributions were affected by river barriers and showed that the Basin was divisible into four major
geographic areas bounded by the Amazon, Negro, and Madeira rivers. This hypothesis, although not mutually
exclusive from others, has received recent attention and support. Ayres (1986) and Ayres and Clutton-Brock (1992)
have confirmed Wallace's original observation by documenting the correlation between the degree of private
community similarity on opposite banks of Amazonian rivers and river width, or flow rate. Additionally, Capparella
has shown that the degree of genetic divergence among samples of understory bird species is related to river width.
One explicit expectation of the Riverine Barrier Hypothesis is that increasing divergence should relate positively to
river size (width, flow rate, etc.). Hence, differentiation should increase along both sides of a green river, from its
headwaters to the mouth, as the barrier widens and the potential for cross-river gene flow diminishes. However, the
expectation for any given taxon is likely to be complicated by the dynamic nature of floodplain rivers, because
populations have the potential for passive transfer from one side to the other by river-bend cutoffs, or oxbow lake
formation, through time . . . Consequently expectations of the potential force of riverine barriers are likely to vary
among taxa that occur in the river floodplain (the seasonal flooded forest, or "várzea" of the Amazon Basin) as
opposed to those that are limited to upland, nonflooded forest, or terra firme. The pattern and degree of divergence
may also depend on other ecological characteristics . . . --James L. Patton et al., August 1994. Evolution 48(4):
. . .
the argument has been made that aesthetic criteria in general are secondary
and essentially in the service of a more fundamental process. Thus, Wallace
has disputed Darwin's claim that female choices of maters reflect strictly aesthetic
tastes, that is, beauty for beauty's sake (Wallace, 1889, 1892). Rather, Wallace
insisted that beauty is likely to be associated with good health and vigor,
which are deemed the primary bases for choice. The theoretical advantage that
accrues to Wallace's position is that sexual and natural selection are parsimoniously
working in unison. Within the classical Darwinian perspective, female choice
of the most flamboyantly adorned or colored male can imply choice of a mate
vulnerable to predators and likely to produce offspring with similar vulnerabilities.
None of this is intended to imply that either Darwin or Wallace is right or
wrong. After the passage of more than a century, the issue is still under debate,
although new experimental studies testing predictions from the two theories
offer hope of an eventual resolution of the issue . . . --Nathan Kogan, Spring
1994. Social Research 61(1): 143.
. . .
in short, there are on every hand the most striking and conclusive evidences
that the production and consumption of wealth have increased with even greater
rapidity than the increase of population, and that, if any class obtains less,
it is solely because of the greater inequality of distribution. What [Henry]
George had done with this argument, Helfand argues, was to establish an economic
equivalent of Wallace's theory that the human brain changed the nature of the
evolutionary process by its ability to create tools and alter the environment.
George had argued that labor is the source of wealth, on grounds that "the richest
countries are not those where nature is the most prolific; but those where labor
is the most efficient." . . . --Lamar B. Jones, April 1994. American Journal
of Economics and Sociology 53(2): 252.
The earliest discovery of avian visual mimicry was Wallace's account of another case involving large
aggressive models and smaller mimics that would otherwise have been expected to be among the models' victims.
The models are friarbirds of the Philemon [moluccensis] superspecies which are among the largest members of a
family (Meliphagidae or honey-eaters) notorious for pugnacious behavior; the models are orioles of the Oriolus [bouroensis] superspecies (family Oriolidae). Wallace was struck by parallel geographical variation in plumage
between friarbirds and orioles on two Indonesian islands. Subsequent study expanded Wallace's observations in
three respects . . . --Jared M. Diamond, 24 February 1994. Nature 367: 684.
The common idea that Darwin behaved like a perfect gentleman throughout the Wallace episode rests partly on
the myth that he had some option other than those outlined above--that he could have rushed his theory to press
without so much as mentioning Wallace. But unless Wallace was even more saintly than he seems to have been, this
would have brought a scandal that left Darwin's name tainted, even to the point of endangering its connection to his
theory. In other words: this option was not an option. The biographer who admiringly observes that Darwin "hated
losing his priority, but he hated even more the chance of being suspected of ungentlemanly or nonsporting conduct"
is creating a distinction where none existed; to have been thought unsporting would have threatened his priority . . .
--Robert Wright, 1994. In his The Moral Animal (Pantheon Books): 306.
A major stumbling block for Darwinians was the absence of any fossil remains of humans in Europe during the
Tertiary period. From this Wallace had argued a priori that the human species had not spread widely upon the earth
and was of recent origin. Since fossil remains had been located only in the tropics, Wallace concluded that these
warm climes had been the cradle of human evolution . . . --Nancy J. Christie, 1994. In Roy MacLeod & Philip J.
Rehbock, eds., Darwin's Laboratory: Evolutionary Theory and Natural History in the Pacific (University of
Hawai'i Press): 445.
Wallace is less well known for his lifelong insistence on the necessity for precise species distribution maps than
he is for his much-disputed line. Detailed knowledge of species distribution was the basis for Wallace's efforts to
formulate a general scheme of faunal regions. In one image, Wallace's map redefined and unified the various
notions of biological regions current in the first half of the nineteenth century, embodied the evolutionary history of
the diverse biota of the East Indian Archipelago, and participated in a genre of visual representation extending into
the contemporary culture . . . Jane R. Camerini, December 1993. Isis 84(4): 727.
Fisher (1920) explains that the "essential difference" between plans such as those of Wallace and his own "is
that between redeemability and irredeemability." But is there really an essential difference between always being
able to "redeem" a gold certificate for a possibly varying quantity of gold, on the one hand, and always being able to
purchase with irredeemable money a given quantity of gold at a possibly varying market price, on the other? So as
an outsider to economics, Wallace was free from the attachment to gold and thus advocated a stabilization policy
that was more in the spirit of the quantity theory. He was also explicit about what Fisher (in his definite-reserve
system) left unspecified; namely, the role of the Treasury in injecting or withdrawing quantities of money from
circulation. Here was a true anticipator of the Chicago School of the 1930s . . . --Don Patinkin, Summer 1993. Economic Quarterly 79(3): 18.
The second story is that the thin Martian atmosphere is but a remnant of a once much thicker atmosphere, most
of which long ago escaped to space [cf., Wallace, 1907]. Other things being equal, because it is smaller, escape is
easier from Mars than from Earth or Venus. Several escape mechanisms have been suggested, including some that
could be operative today. A possibly important example of the latter is the nonthermal escape of nitrogen.
Hydrodynamic escape and impact erosion of the atmosphere (a.k.a. atmospheric cratering) are two potentially much
more effective escape mechanisms that should have been operative early . . . --Kevin J. Zahnle, 25 June 1993. Journal of Geophysical Research E 98(6): 10,889.
. . . the value of living organisms as an intellectual resource is another compelling reason for preserving biotic
diversity. It provides the materials that allow us to understand the living world, whatever our reasons for doing so.
Extinction is depriving us of much of the crucial evidence. Among the measures that Wallace advocated was the
establishment of a system of strategically located forest reserves where a representative sample of the biota could be
preserved and studied by naturalists . . . --Michael T. Ghiselin, Spring 1993. Pacific Discovery 46(2): 23.
for genetic isolation has been called the Wallace Effect by Grant, in honor
of A. R. Wallace who first suggested it (Wallace 1889). Control of a species'
altitudinal boundary by a pathogen-environment interaction may provide an appropriate
arena for the Wallace Effect. The scenario for speciation suggested above begins
with a very unlikely event: establishment of a new disease-resistant population
outside the normal habitat of the parent species. Though unlikely, such speciation
across a "pathological barrier" requires no changes of climate, elevation of
mountain chains, or other large scale phenomena. It suggests that the potential
for the establishment of peripheral isolates in new ecological settings may
exist at the margin of a great many species. This scenario is similar to the
concept of the "upstart species" of Harper or of new species "budding off' from
older species . . . --William Burger, December 1992. Biotropica 24(4):
monochromatic and polychromatic species, pelage pigmentation would be helpful
for identifying conspecifics, especially at distances where odor and vocalizations
would be unreliable cues. In polychromatic species it would also narrow the
range of choices within a herd when looking for the mother, particularly when
her head cannot be seen clearly. Alfred Russel Wallace recognized the significance
of body pigmentation when he wrote in 1889, under the subject of "Colour as
a means of recognition": "If we consider the habits and life-histories of those
animals which are more or less gregarious, comprising a large proportion of
the herbivora, . . . we shall see that a means of ready recognition of its own
kind, at a distance or during rapid motion, in dusk of twilight or in partial
cover, must be of the greatest advantage and often lead to the preservation
of life." Within a colour category, the young would have to rely on other cues,
be they visual, auditory, or olfactory. For example, the length of pelage was
one of the cues eliminated in this study by cutting the does' hair, because
in a previous study I noticed that the offspring of long-haired females tended
to solicit females with long hair like that of their mothers. Although cues
present in the head are probably important for individual recognition, at a
distance the fine detail of facial characteristics might not be as discernable
as markings on parts of the body with more surface area. The specific visual
cues used for recognition should depend on the characteristics of the group
or species, the habitat in which the species is found, and the perceptual capabilities
of the developing individuals . . . --Carlos R. Ruiz-Miranda, November 1992. Behaviour 123(1-2): 136-137.
For Paley, the epiglottis could not evolve in this manner; hence, some form of causality other than change
origin is called for. Paley's answer was "an intelligent and designing Creator." Soon other thinkers followed Paley's
lead concerning the impact of the argument from perfection. In one of the most amazing shifts in the history of
ideas, Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) employed what may be considered an indirect use of the argument from
perfection on an a fortiori basis against the very theory of natural selection that he had founded with Charles
Darwin . . . --John T. Baldwin, April 1992. Harvard Theological Review 85(1): 112.
. . . On the one hand, motivated by the biological evidence discussed, but restricting themselves to a one-dimensional model of world reality, Goldschmidt and Gould (themselves standing outside the argument from
perfection tradition) of necessity turn for an alternative model of origins to a refined concept of the "hopeful
monster" theory wholly explainable by empirical principles within a materialistic framework. On the other hand,
Paley, Wallace, Mivart, Bergson, Taylor, Kenny, Plantinga, and Polkinghorne, prompted by similar biological
evidence but remaining open to a wider model of reality (one that can include a trans-empirical dimension) and to a
dynamic relationship between God and the world, conclude that the evidence points more convincingly to some kind
of originating causality that in the final analysis lies beyond the reach of "methodological naturalism." . . . --John T.
Baldwin, April 1992. Harvard Theological Review 85(1): 119.
Alfred Russel Wallace developed a theory of evolution by natural selection at the same time that Charles
Darwin did. He applied his theory to one of the earliest scenarios of human evolution. He related the split between
the first human beings and the apes to the habitats in which they lived. Wallace proposed that hominids, our
bipedally walking ancestors, arose on the great plains and high plateaus of Eurasia, isolated there by shrinking
forests. His deduction was based on the fact that apes today live in dense forested areas. Wallace thought, therefore,
that bipedally striding humans must have evolved in open, flat areas. Darwin disagreed on the geography, believing
that a tropical environment with abundant fruit was our ancestral hominids' environment. He preferred an African
origin for the human lineage. The chimpanzee and gorilla, he pointed out, were both African and the closest living
primate relatives to humans . . . --Noel T. Boaz, March 1992. Earth 1(2): 37.
These findings show that Wallace's hypothesis can be verified for a broad category of population genetic
models and that, therefore, the Wallace effect indeed deserves a central position in speciation theory. By outlining
the effects of gametic phase imbalance, the findings also point at the forces which could possibly set up barriers to
speciation: asymmetric gene flow between parapatric populations, and asymmetric cross-incompatibility in both
parapatric and sympatric (sub-)populations. Asymmetry in cross-incompatibility describes the situation where in one
population the rejection of cross-matings is markedly stronger than in the other population. However, whether these
conditions actually suffice to inhibit speciation must be proven in each special case . . . --Hans-Rolf Gregorius,
February 1992. Journal of Theoretical Biology 154(3): 397.
. . . Wallace's narrative eye, like Darwin's, allows him to transcend time through visual analogy, but it is the
European model of cultural progress rather than biological history that flashes before the reader. The narrative
motion of the European mind searching backward through its own memory is obscured, and the narrative motion of
the tropical landscape advancing into the European landscape is foregrounded. Wallace's representation suggests
than in looking at the trees he is not simply experiencing perceptual confusion; he is perceiving future forms in
present ones. The link between trees and pillars, between tropical and European, is thus seen as a historical
inevitability rather than an optical illusion or perceptual accident. Where Darwin's illusions increase formal variety,
however, Wallace's limit it. Rather than a single form blossoming into multiple analogous forms, Wallace's eye
perceives several different species in terms of a single European form. The distinction between Darwin's and
Wallace's representational strategies roughly correlates to the differences in their evolutionary theories. Darwin
believed in random competitive evolution while Wallace believed in adaptive, environmental evolution . . . --James
Krasner, 1992. In his The Entangled Eye: Visual Perception and the Representation of Nature in Post-Darwinian
Narrative (Oxford University Press): 114.
. . . In Wallace's nature all selection is purposeful and relatively precise; nature tends toward utility, and clears
way all forms that are not useful. James's theory of vision can be seen as the perceptual corollary to Wallace's
evolutionary theory. The Jamesian mind, like Wallace's evolutionary nature, establishes a formal standard that must
be met, and all those forms that fail to meet that standard are eliminated; in Wallace's nature they die off, in James's
vision they go unperceived. It is therefore appropriate that Wallace should use a Jamesian representational model.
Where Darwin portrays visual forms mutating and multiplying as they compete for space in the reader's perceptual
field, Wallace portrays the selection of forms according to an imageable standard of reference. Moreover, because
this formal standard is European, the forms of nature are selected according to the standard of reference of
European experience--the viewer perceives trees as pillars, and those trees that look less like pillars are ignored.
Wallace's representation of evolution thus involves the reader in a more and more familiar world . . . --James
Krasner, 1992. In his The Entangled Eye: Visual Perception and the Representation of Nature in Post-Darwinian
Narrative (Oxford University Press): 115.
Until just before 1880 Wallace had firmly believed "that vaccination was a scientific procedure, and that Jenner
was one of the great benefactors of mankind." As a young man he had voluntarily undergone vaccination and
subsequent revaccination, just before leaving for South America on a naturalistic trip. He had never questioned the
effectiveness of the operation until reading several anti-vaccination texts and meeting William Tebb, the 1870
successor of John and Richard Gibbs as leader of the Anti-vaccination League and founder of the Anti-vaccination
Society of America. Convinced by Tebb's arguments, Wallace joined him in the battle for the new cause. Aware of
his ignorance on medical matters, Wallace always based his arguments on statistic figures rather than on strictly
sanitary aspects. Harry Clements, his biographer, writes: "no one was apparently able seriously to challenge him on
the figures." . . . --Giacomo Scarpelli, 1992. Nuncius (Italy) 7(1): 115-116.
. . . These moral principles were also applied to another field of study, that of the so-called "Psychical
Research" which caught Wallace's interest very early, in fact earlier than we might possibly think. Spiritism, in
Wallace's mind, had a eudaemonist socratic meaning: ghosts were seen as moral and spiritual guides to man.
Wallace then developed the idea of man as center of a pre-ordained universe, in which the pain which man is
subject to being the most sensitive creature, and the evil which he must fight since he is capable of discerning, are
seen as necessary steps towards the completion of moral rather than organic developments, necessary to enter into a
superior spiritual sphere. We can now truly understand this sentence: "the whole purpose, the only raison d'être of
the world [ . . . ] was the development of human spirit in association with the human body" . . . This conception of a
pre-existing order and a synchronicity can explain the logic which backed Wallace's opinions and attitudes . . . --Giacomo Scarpelli, 1992. Nuncius (Italy) 7(1): 120-121.
. . . Wallace . . . brought forth an alternative explanation which involved totally different powers. Man has the
faculty of artificially selecting vegetable and animal species; similarly a Higher Intelligence could have controlled
and directed Natural Selection in the human development process, in a particular and highly ethical aim . . .
Effectively, Wallace, induced by the moral ideal earlier mentioned, was trying to find a solution that would not clash
with his vision of harmonia naturae and undermine the theory of Natural Selection with whatsoever extension or
correction. His was not a denial of the theory but, paradoxically, the result of his excessively rigourous attitude.
Wallace, the hyperselectivist, preferred to involve a Superior Intellect, in other words a deus ex machina, rather than
admit that his primary theory might possibly have been less absolute . . . --Giacomo Scarpelli, 1992. Nuncius (Italy)
. . . Wallace was driven in his crusade by ethical and social issues, as well as the intention of preventing the
disruption of the biological balance. This was altogether a kind of civil protest aimed towards a general reform of
society, freed from imposition. Wallace believed that an improvement of the population's economic conditions
would have resulted in higher hygienic standards and a richer diet, and consequently, in a decreased spread of
diseases, smallpox included. He also envisaged the creation of a Ministry of Health employing teams of Doctors.
These purposes, which seem so obvious today, were in his time little less than revolutionary. It can be said that
Wallace foresaw the creation of National Health Service . . . --Giacomo Scarpelli, 1992. Nuncius (Italy) 7(1): 128.
Place in the Universe. A. R. Wallace (McClure, Phillips, New York, 1903).
A famous coauthor of Darwin's discovery anticipated in the last chapter of his
book almost all versions of modern AP [the Anthropic Principle] . . . --Yuri
V. Balashov, December 1991. American Journal of Physics 59(12): 1072.
Wallace did not try to explain distribution patterns by invoking the occurrence of unique events but rather by
recourse to general principles. For Wallace that general principle was geological change. There are numerous
passages in Wallace (1880) that confirm his appreciation of the importance of geological change in understanding
distribution patterns in Indonesia. His discussion of the faunal relationship between the Malay Peninsula and the
islands of Borneo, Sumatra, and Java is detailed and provides a clear statement of his position. Having noted the
overall similarity of this area's flora and fauna to that of India, he continued on the greater similarity of the
mammals and birds of Borneo and Sumatra than those of Borneo and Java, and on the high degree of endemism of
the Javan fauna . . . --B. Michaux, September 1991. Australian Systematic Botany 4(1): 26.
. . . Although this is a rather brief summary of the distribution patterns that Wallace recognised in Indonesia, it
does, I believe, accurately reflect the major patterns he observed. His interpretations of these patterns, based as they
were on an incomplete understanding of the dynamic nature of the earth's surface, are only really of historical
interest. Wallace's attempt to understand distributional patterns in terms of geological change was doomed from the
start because neither he nor anyone else at the time realised that land could move laterally as well as vertically . . . --B. Michaux, September 1991. Australian Systematic Botany 4(1): 27.
Discrimination involves recognition in the signal receiver that a stimulus, or configuration of stimuli, belongs to
some discrete category. The importance of design for discriminability has been recognized since Wallace (1867)
suggested that distasteful insect larvae '. . . required some distinctive mark, something by which they may be
contrasted with and separated from the agreeable larvae, in order that they might be freed from the attacks of birds'
and that 'Brilliant colouration would be such a distinction as was required'. Warning colours and patterns should
therefore look different from those of the prey for which predators normally hunt . . . --Tim Guilford & Marian
Stamp Dawkins, July 1991. Animal Behaviour 42(1): 5.
generations of evolutionary biologists, beginning with August Weismann and Alfred
R. Wallace, have refined our understanding of the evolution of senescence to
the point where we now have pretty good reason to believe that in a species
like our own aging occurs because natural selection places higher priority on
turning out progeny to carry our genes forward than on keeping individuals going;
in effect, late survival is sacrificed for reproduction. Extending through a
more diverse range of reproductive patterns, the burgeoning discipline of evolutionary
life-history theory provides us with the intellectual framework to approach
questions like why some species get only a single shot at reproduction (semelparity)
while other get more (iteroparity) and why species differ in their longevities
. . . --Caleb E. Finch, 28 June 1991. Science 252(5014): 1864.
. . . In Wallace there was support for the nationalization
of land and for the economic emancipation of women. The latter reform he actually
justified in evolutionary terms, thereby giving rise to a form of social Wallaceism.
His point was that women were currently prevented, by their social and economic
disadvantages, from fully exercising their selective role in the choice of mate.
Although he sometimes felt that Darwin attached too great an importance to sexual
selection in the mechanics of evolution, Wallace was nevertheless convinced
that female emancipation could only benefit posterity . . . --John Hedley Brooke,
1991. In his Science and Religion; Some Historical Perspectives (Cambridge
University Press): 294-295.
. . . The sheer improbability of the emergence of man deeply impressed Alfred Russel Wallace. Contingency
had piled upon contingency with each critical stage in evolutionary divergence. In a book written late in life, Man's
Place in the Universe (1903), he turned the argument against physicists and astronomers who were scouring the
heavens for planets having a physical environment comparable with that of the earth and on which intelligent life
might be presumed to have evolved. Properly understood, Wallace argued, the theory of evolution told against such
a possibility--certainly against the emergence of intelligence akin to human. However close the physico-chemical
environment to that on earth, it was inconceivable that the evolutionary process on other worlds could have
followed the same nuanced path as on earth. One minor deviation at an early stage and the whole process would
take an entirely different course . . . --John Hedley Brooke, 1991. In his Science and Religion; Some Historical
Perspectives (Cambridge University Press): 315.
Wallace's scientific case rested on his conclusion that the human brain, including that of the most primitive
peoples, was more powerful than was necessary for survival. For a large part of his early life Wallace had lived
among primitive peoples in South America and Southeast Asia, an experience that convinced him that these people,
simple as they have appeared in mind and action, were equal in intelligence to Europeans. As the modern
anthropologist Loren Eiseley remarked, Wallace displayed "scarcely a trace of the racial superiority so frequently
manifested in nineteenth-century scientific circles," in which were included Darwin and Thomas Huxley. If human
beings possessed brain capacities beyond what was needed for survival, Wallace reasoned, then how could natural
selection bring about its evolution? Where was the "survival value" of that capacity if that capacity was not fully
used? After all, natural selection improved an organ only through its adaptation to the pressure of environment. In
the case of the human brain, however, the capacity was greater than human beings really required or that the
pressure of environment could account for. Wallace logically concluded on those grounds that "some higher
intelligence directed the process by which the human race was developed." . . . --Carl N. Degler, 1991. In his In
Search of Human Nature; The Decline and Revival of Darwinism in American Social Thought (Oxford University
. . . It will be recalled that Darwin could find no useful value in the physical (racial) differences among human
groups. Thus he could not account for those differences through the operation of natural selection. He did, however,
accept the common anthropological view of the time that the differences in levels of culture or civilization which
occurred among the diverse peoples of the world derived from differences in their biological capacities. Some
cultures were higher than others because the people in those societies were biologically superior. That was the
opening in his theory of human evolution through which racism entered. It was that opening which Wallace closed
with his conception of the intellectual equality and therefore the equal cultural capacity of all peoples. As things
turned out, Wallace looked to other ways and matters in his effort to make evolution less competitive and
threatening. He did not develop any further his assertion of the mental equality of all peoples, or at least few took
notice of its relevance. Yet that was the precise argument, elaborated and tirelessly defended, that undermined in
time the concept of racism in America. Its elaboration and defense underpinned the concept of culture, an idea that
in the twentieth century became not only an alternative to a racial explanation for human behavioral differences but
also a central concept in social science . . . --Carl N. Degler, 1991. In his In Search of Human Nature; The Decline
and Revival of Darwinism in American Social Thought (Oxford University Press): 61.
. . . Wallace's supernatural explanation gained few followers among social scientists in the second half of the
twentieth century, but his assertion of the special, indeed unique, nature of man, because of his brain, continued to
influence many, directly or indirectly. The eminent modern American anthropologist Loren Eiseley, for example
was among them. His sympathetic response to Wallace reflects the views of many other American social scientists
today. Eiseley did not doubt that Wallace has a better understanding of the roots of human nature than Darwin. In
his book Darwin's Century, Eiseley contrasted Darwin's conception with that of Wallace. "The mind of man, by
indetermination, by the power of choice and cultural communication," he wrote, "is on the verge of escape from the
blind control of that deterministic world with which the Darwinists had unconsciously shackled man. The inborn
characteristics laid upon him by the biological extremists have crumbled away," he was relieved to report. In
Eiseley's judgement, Wallace stood out among evolutionists of his own time because he recognized even then that
human beings had escaped from biological evolution. "Wallace saw and saw correctly, that with the rise of man the
evolution of parts was to a marked degree outmoded, that mind was now the arbiter of human destiny." . . . --Carl N.
Degler, 1991. In his In Search of Human Nature; The Decline and Revival of Darwinism in American Social
Thought (Oxford University Press): 330.
Wallace (1865) hypothesized that sex-limited mimicry, in which palatable females are the only sex to mimic
unpalatable butterflies, arises because females fly more slowly than males and hence are more vulnerable to
predation. Our results from the within-lineage analyses are in agreement with Wallace's hypothesis. Evolutionarily,
palatable males have larger thoraces, maximizing flight muscle, and smaller abdomens, minimizing load on the
wings, probably to maximize flight speed; whereas females have retained large abdomens, probably to maximize
egg load. Counter-selection for fecundity may operate against faster flight speeds, and females may be
reproductively constrained to evolve alternative means of avoiding predation, such as mimicry. If females fly more
slowly, they may be predisposed to fly like an unpalatable model . . . --Robert Srygley & Peng Chai, 11 October
1990. Oecologia 84(4): 498.
. . . there simply weren't any lists of Darwinian tenets that would have been accepted by all the leading
Darwinians and rejected by all the main non-Darwinians in the first decade or so following the publication of the Origin. Both the Darwinians Charles Lyell and Asa Gray and the non-Darwinians the Duke of Argyll and St.
George Mivart, for example, thought that natural selection must be supplemented by some sort of "directing force"
in order to account for the relevant phenomena, while Darwin consistently denied the need for such an additional
mechanism (Argyll 1877; Gray 1884; Mivart 1871). Conversely, neither the Darwinians Alfred Russel Wallace and
Charles Lyell nor the non-Darwinians St. George Mivart and William Whewell thought that human beings could be
included under the same explanatory scheme (whatever this might be) that was used to account for the history and
behavior of "lower" animals, while Darwin maintained that they could . . . --Doren Recker, September 1990. Philosophy of Science 57(3): 463.
The efforts to denigrate Darwin serve only to conceal the real differences between the two naturalists' approach
to transmutation. Careful reading of Wallace's paper reveals that in several important respects his theory failed to
duplicate the essence of Darwin's thinking. Wallace had no interest in artificial selection and refused to treat it as
analogous to the natural process even in later years. His mechanism did not even address the basic question of how
selection acts on individual differences to change a population, because he was interested in how one well-marked
variety (what we now call a subspecies) could replace others. Once it is recognized that in writing of natural
selection acting on varieties Wallace was thinking of subspecies rather than individual variations, it can be seen that
his paper does not contain a description of what Darwin saw as the basic mechanism of change. Wallace simply
assumed that species split into varieties--he did not seek to explain how this all-important first step occurs. It has
also been suggested that Wallace failed to appreciate the full power of selection because he treated the varieties as
struggling against nature, not struggling against each other . . . --Peter J. Bowler, 1990. In his Charles Darwin; The
Man and His Influence (Basil Blackwell): 113.
. . . Wallace's Darwinism of 1889 provided a clear and comprehensive survey of the theory and of the relevant
areas of biology. Except in the case of the origin of the human mind, Wallace was an extreme selectionist; unlike
Darwin, he would have nothing to do with any other mechanism of evolution. This position soon became known as
'neo-Darwinism' to distinguish it from the more flexible form of the theory which Darwin himself had advocated
and which had gained support precisely because it allowed selection to be relegated to the status of a secondary
mechanism . . . --Peter J. Bowler, 1990. In his Charles Darwin; The Man and His Influence (Basil Blackwell): 210.
parent process is a mechanism for the evolution of epigamic traits that is distinct
from the Fisherian process and the good genes process. In the good parent process,
direct selection on females to discriminate among males on the basis of male
parental quality leads to the evolution of a trait that provides female with
honest (accurate and precise) information regarding the non-heritable component
of parental quality in a potential mate. Wallace (1891, 1901) recognized the
potential of such a mechanism, but he had no way to consider rigorously the
effects of inheritance. The good parent process is also different from Darwinian
sexual selection (Darwin 1871), because females are not necessarily attracted
by a good parent trait. A trait that evolves via the good parent process only
enhances the attractiveness of high-quality males . . . --Guy A. Hoelzer, December
1989. Animal Behaviour 38(6): 1075.
Wallace (1889), a number of authors have argued that isolating barriers could
be positively selected for their isolating property to prevent the formation
of hybrids and to actively promote divergence and speciation. However, being
a second order effect, the selective forces are likely to be weak, and, as Levin
points out, in practice it is going to be very difficult to distinguish this
effect from other forms of competition and selection . . . --Mark R. Macnair,
February 1989. Genome 31(1): 204-205.
Wallace, on the other hand, insisted on the validity of the "uniform and consistent testimony of our senses". It
is complete fallacy, so he argued, that only propositions could be demonstrated and phenomena could not be. "The
direct testimony of the educated senses guided by reason was of higher validity than any complex results of reason
alone." According to Wallace, testimony was trustworthy if the witness was in full possession of the senses and in
agreement with the reports of other witnesses. Was it really true, asked Wallace rhetorically, that a member of the
House of Peers like Lord Lyndsay--who had recently converted to spiritualism--"can not be trusted as a faithful
witness?" If the witness were insane or deluded, Wallace argued, they would also be unable to use Carpenter's
mathematical reasoning . . . --Roy J. DeCarvalho, January 1989. Journal of Religion and Psychical Research 12(1):
Darwinian theory of evolution is defective in that it does not even recognize
the extraordinary problem that is presented by living organisms acquiring mental
experiences of a non-material kind that are in another world from the world
of matter-energy, which formerly was globally comprehensive. The Cartesian solution
is not generally acceptable, namely, that human beings have conscious experiences
that are attributable to the Divine creation of souls, and that higher animals
are merely machine-like automata devoid of mental experiences. Likewise the
panpsychist evasion of the problem is not acceptable. It is disturbing that
evolutionists have largely ignored the tremendous enigma that is presented to
their materialistic theory by the emergence of mentality in the animal evolution
. . . I believe that the emergence of consciousness is a skeleton in the cupboard
of orthodox evolutionism. At the same time it is recognized that, although the
holistic concept gives meaning to the emergence of consciousness, it provides
no explanation of this emergence. It remains just as enigmatic as it is to an
orthodox evolutionist as long as it is regarded as an exclusively natural
process in an exclusively materialist world . . . --John C. Eccles, 1989.
In his Evolution of the Brain: Creation of the Self (Routledge): 176.
. . .
Nature still presented a gory spectacle; and people of faith still had to wonder
at the divine power that would use such means. Hence, Wallace comes to repeat
the position Darwin flirted with above: denial of pain and suffering as a means
of vindicating the goodness of nature. In his 1911 chapter "Is Nature Cruel?"
he offers again the answer that nature is not cruel because most animals simply
do not suffer. Wallace cautions that one must not read one's own sensations
into the animal world: that "anything approaching to what we term 'pain' was
unknown" to most animals. They "probably suffer nothing at all when being devoured."
He goes further to assert (very strongly) that "birds, mice, squirrels, and
the like, do not get limbs broken by falls, as we do," and that, in sum, "whatever
pain exists is not long-continued" (Wallace 1911, 404-405) . . . --David Oates,
December 1988. Zygon 23(4): 445.
response is, on the face of it, rather puzzling. Why did he not protest Wallace's
assertion that selection works principally through the elimination of unfavorable
variants? Historians generally agree that the acknowledgment of selection as
a negative force--removing inferior variants and thus maintaining the "type"--long
predated Darwin. In this perspective, Darwin's achievement lay in his recognition
that selection was "a creative process and not merely a sieve." But there is
no evidence that his dissents from Wallace's essentially negative view. Perhaps
historians' radical distinction between natural selection as a creative force
and as executioner of the unfit--that is, as "nature's broom"--was not recognized
by Darwin . . . --Diane B. Paul, Fall 1988. Journal of the History of Biology 21(3): 417-418.
American Interchange was first recognized by Wallace (1876), but it has taken
another hundred years of intense paleontological study by Ameghino, Matthew,
Scott, Patterson, Simpson, Webb, and others to clarify patterns of dispersal.
It is only during the last decade, moreover, that greater precision in dating
the sediments containing interchange taxa has provided a firm time frame for
various aspects of the event. It is now possible to assess the interchange in
detail, and to analyze the tempo and mode of dispersal and the rates of extinction
and origination in successive faunas through time. As a result, the Great American
Interchange represents the best-documented example in the fossil record of the
intermingling of two long-separated continental faunas . . . --Larry G. Marshall,
July-August 1988. American Scientist 76(4): 380.
. . .
"I should be extremely glad now to publish a sketch of general
views in about a dozen pages or so; but I cannot persuade myself that I can
do so honourably. Wallace says nothing about publication, and I enclose his
letter. But as I had not intended to publish any sketch, can I do so honourably,
because Wallace has sent me an outline of his doctrine? I would far rather burn
my whole book, than that he or any other man should think that I had behaved
in a paltry spirit. Do you not think his having sent me this sketch ties my
hands? I do not in least believe that that [sic] he originated his views
from anything which I wrote to him" [Darwin's words] . . . --Barbara
G. Beddall, Spring 1988. Journal of the History of Biology 21(1): 52.
. . .
In the narrow focus espoused both by the participants in the events leading
up to and including the "joint papers," and by their successors, priority in
this case has been treated as a "single event," a zero-sum game with winners
and losers, an occasion when "editorial manipulation" and "delicate arrangements"
could be invoked. But, as seen above, the matter is far more complex than this
approach would indicate. It requires a broader perspective in which the enormous
contributions made by both Darwin and Wallace can be recognized. In game theory
this would be a non-zero-sum game, where both Darwin and Wallace benefited from
the work of the other, thus becoming codiscoverers of the theory of evolution
by means of natural selection. If this interpretation of the events is rejected,
the status of the matter reverts to a zero-sum game, which brings back with
it not only its winners and losers, but also the problems of "editorial manipulation"
and "delicate arrangements," as posed by Kohn and Nelson . . . --Barbara G.
Beddall, Spring 1988. Journal of the History of Biology 21(1): 62.
enough, it was A. R. Wallace, not Darwin, who suggested an explicit associative
hypothesis integrating learning theory with natural selection. In a paper entitled
"On the Origin of Food Aversion Paradigms," Garcia and Hankins present the case
for a Darwin-Wallace conditioning theory initiated in 1866 and experimentally
verified by 1887. Their theory was actively generating research 2 decades before
Pavlov began his studies in classical conditioning, and 3 decades before Thorndike
presented his thesis on instrumental conditioning. This pioneer effort culminated
in today's research area, narrowly labeled "conditioned taste aversion." More
broadly considered, this paradigm is representative of homeostatic conditioning
which Tolman (1949) called "cathexis"; when responding to survival needs, organisms
come to cherish one particular type of food and drink, or one given type of
mate, and to abhor others . . . --Robert C. Bolles & Michael D. Beecher,
eds., 1988. In their Evolution and Learning (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates):
. . .
Wallace had traveled widely in South America and the South Pacific as a naturalist
and collector of exotic specimens. His observations of native peoples had convinced
him that the intellectual and moral faculties required by the aboriginal way
of life were not markedly different from those needed by mammals generally to
survive in their respective ecological situations. Yet aborigines brought to
England and educated there had the capacity to acquire the behavioral sophistication
of modern Europeans. Thus, aborigines had moral and intellectual capacities
far exceeding the immediate requirements of the environments in which they had
evolved. Therefore the intellectual capacities of primitive man, and by implication
modern man, could not be the result of natural selection . . . --Robert C. Bolles
& Michael D. Beecher, 1988. In their Evolution and Learning (Lawrence
Erlbaum Associates): 41.
nature of warning, or 'aposematic' colour patterns seemed clear a century ago
(Wallace, 1867, 1878; Poulton, 1890), but recently it has been debated whether
'individual' natural selection may explain their initial evolution. Fisher (1930)
had earlier suggested a similar problem with the evolution of unpalatability.
Previous explanations depend purely on selection to explain the evolution of
warning colours. Here we propose that drift, combined with natural selection,
may also be important . . . --James Mallet & Michael C. Singer, December
1987. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 32(4): 338.
. . .
Although mimicry strongly suggests that colour patterns are used as warning
signals, there is only anecdotal evidence that warning colours are easier to
learn than non-warning colours. Traditionally, it has been assumed that the
bright colours of unpalatable insects are more efficient signals (Wallace, 1867,
1878). Birds seem to learn to avoid conspicuous prey more easily, and humans
use bright colours in warning signs. However unpalatable insects could be brightly
coloured for other reasons . . . --James Mallet & Michael C. Singer, December
1987. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 32(4): 338.
. . .
In the pages of the Encyclopedia Britannica, over several editions,
Alfred Russel Wallace argued the case for acclimatization. He was more careful
than most, at that stage, in distinguishing between domestication, naturalization
and acclimatization. And yet arguing from first evolutionary principles and
from plant and animal biogeography, he urged that "numerous facts in the distribution
of races show that man must, in remote ages at least, have been capable of constitutional
adaptation to climate". In more recent times, the migrations of the Jews, and
the settlement of the Dutch in South Africa, the English-speaking peoples in
America and Australia, and the Spanish in South America all demonstrated that
complete acclimatization was entirely possible . . . --David N. Livingstone,
December 1987. History of Science 25(4): 381.
. . . But now that the monogenist thesis
had triumphed, acclimatization followed as a natural consequence. Similar deductions
were drawn by A.R. Wallace: "numerous facts in the distribution of races
show that man must, in remote ages at least, have been capable of constitutional
adaptation to climate" he urged. Hence, "if the human race constitutes
a single species, then the mere fact that man now inhabits every region, and
is in each case constitutionally adapted to the climate, proves that acclimatization
has occurred." . . . --David N. Livingstone, December 1987. History
of Science 25(4): 386.
Wallace's view was kindred in spirit to Henry George's Progress and Poverty (1879), although Wallace had
less regard for the market. Both saw man as needing land. Their mutual disapproval of Parnellism brought them
together, and both submerged methodological differences to further their common concept. Wallace gave him a
platform when George toured Britain. Wallace cast George as a theorist who confirmed Wallace's inductive
argument, perhaps underrating George's journalistic background. For many years single tax and land nationalization
were closely linked by friend and foe . . . --Mason Gaffney, 1987. In John Eatwell, Murray Milgate & Peter
Newman, eds., The New Palgraves: A Dictionary of Economics (Macmillan), Volume 4: 850.
According to both Spencer and Wallace, a natural principle of evolution inexorably led to the moral perfection
of man. Wallace, of course, had a different principle in mind than Spencer's device of adaptation through the
inherited effects of habit. He nonetheless believed that the principle of natural selection would add further support
to Spencer's primary vision, the view that man's moral character was not only a goal of evolution, but also a chief
means of progress toward the perfection of human nature . . . --Robert J. Richards, 1987. In his Darwin and the
Emergence of Evolutionary Theories of Mind and Behavior (University of Chicago Press): 165-166.
. . . Evolutionary theory, as Darwin himself admitted in the Origin, remained mute concerning how life and
consciousness first arose in the universe; it could only account for subsequent transformations. Just so, Wallace now
proclaimed, natural selection brought no clear perception of the origins of specifically human intellect and moral
feeling. He was persuaded that these distinctive capacities must have originated under the influence of higher
powers, intelligences who shepherded the progressive development of mind through the ages . . . --Robert J.
Richards, 1987. In his Darwin and the Emergence of Evolutionary Theories of Mind and Behavior (University of
Chicago Press): 178.
. . . Contemporary primitives and our ancestors thus had latent mental qualities that could not be explained by
natural selection, which demanded that selected traits confer immediate advantage, not simply promise it. Wallace's
contacts with the spirit world convinced him that higher intelligences rather than natural selection controlled human
evolution. Wallace forthrightly claimed that a conversion to spiritualism proximately caused his rejection of natural
selection as an adequate principle to explain human evolution; and virtually all historians have taken him at his
word. But we need not. For after all, Wallace might well have chosen to regard natural selection as the disposing
instrument of higher spiritual powers and to have held survival of the fittest as a secondary cause . . . --Robert J.
Richards, 1987. In his Darwin and the Emergence of Evolutionary Theories of Mind and Behavior (University of
Chicago Press): 181.
. . . Huxley tarried only a short while over Wallace's demur about natural selection in the case of man. He
derived from Wallace's own writings about savage life descriptions of the extraordinary mental feats such life
actually required--knowledge of a vast territory, reading signs of game or enemies, discovery of properties of plants
and habits of animals, and so forth. "In complexity and difficulty," Huxley estimated, "the intellectual labour of a
'good hunter or warrior' considerably exceeds that of an ordinary Englishman." Wallace had simply miscalculated
the brain power the savage actually needed for survival; thus neither primitive man nor modern native likely had in
excess what could be delivered by natural selection or augmented by entering into civilized life. On the question of
the moral sense, Huxley could "find nothing in Mr. Wallace's reasonings which has not already been met by Mr.
Mill, Mr. Spencer, or Mr. Darwin." . . . --Robert J. Richards, 1987. In his Darwin and the Emergence of
Evolutionary Theories of Mind and Behavior (University of Chicago Press): 227.
And in The Growth of Biological Thought Ernst Mayr comments: "In his letter,
Wallace said that if Darwin thought his paper sufficiently novel and interesting,
he should send it to Lyell and, presumably, submit it for publication (the original
Wallace letter is no longer in existence)." But it is clear that Wallace did not ask Darwin to arrange for publication. Unfortunately, as Mayr notes,
the letter that accompanied Wallace'1s paper is lost. However, we have Darwin's
word for it that there was no such instruction. On the same day that Wallace's
paper arrived, Darwin wrote an anguished letter to Lyell, in which he refers
to Wallace's "MS, which he does not say he wishes me to publish". Then, a week
later, he wrote to Lyell again, to express his misgivings about Lyell's and
Hooker's plan. One of his reasons for worrying was that "Wallace says nothing
about publication". Why should such distinguished writers as Ruse and Mayr make
this particular mistake? This is the kind of error that might perhaps follow
from a moral presumption. It seems wrong to publish someone's work, without
consulting him, in a forum he has not approved. Thus, if we are assuming that
Darwin and his friends acted properly, it will be natural to assume that Wallace
must have asked that his paper be published. But in fact he did not . . . --James
Rachels, Summer 1986. National Forum 66(3): 24.
of r- and K-selection is intuitively reasonable and indeed
there is much circumstantial evidence from both macroecology and microbial ecology
that it exists. The seminal ideas were contributed largely by Dobzhansky (1950),
who compared evolution in the tropics and temperate latitudes. Actually, it
is usually overlooked that the great naturalist Wallace (1878), in his remarks
on tropical plant and animal life, anticipated many of Dobzhansky's conclusions.
Dobzhansky surmised that adaptation in the species-rich tropics is primarily
to a harsh biological environment, while the fewer species in colder realms
have to contend mainly with the physical environment. Put simplistically, the
outcome of different evolutionary pressures between the two regions is competitiveness
(high K) or productivity (high r), respectively . . . --John
H. Andrews & Robin F. Harris, 1986. Advances in Microbial Ecology 9:
. . .
there even continued to be one or two plebeians who became recognised leaders
in a field. Most famously, though A. R. Wallace . . . was of impoverished gentle
family, he had something of a craftsmanly formation, during which he became
a life-long Owenite (he died in 1913). Had his fellow-FRSs borne this in mind,
they might have been less puzzled by his left-wing politics, his anti-vaccinationism
and his plebeian-type spiritualism. A recent historian has plausibly treated
him as an import into the later nineteenth century from the 1840s, and we might
also see him as an import into prestigious scientific circles from the world
of self-taught scientists. His particular route to eminence involved much specimen-hunting
but no diploma-hunting, much jungle-fever but no exam-fever . . . --Logie Barrow,
1986. In his Independent Spirits; Spiritualism and English Plebeians, 1850-1910 (Routledge & Kegan Paul): 153.
. . .
Darwin and Wallace defended a programme of theoretical research by appeal to
the superior coherence and fecundity of their programme. The appeal to superior
coherence took place on two levels. At a substantive level they argued that
their programme promised the discovery of relevantly similar natural forces
for the explanation of relevantly similar natural phenomena. At an epistemic
level they claimed coherence in their use of biogeographical and geological
evidence and coherence in the application of the epistemic desideratum of scrutability.
As Wallace had suggested, the appeal to coherence at substantive and epistemic
levels is justified by the overall aim of science to construe its subject matter
as maximally accessible to investigation and as maximally decidable by acceptable
argument. The appeal to superior fecundity can also be justified as instrumental
to the achievement of these aims . . . --Scott A. Kleiner, December 1985. British
Journal for the Philosophy of Science 36(4): 391.
allopatric model of speciation proposes that populations diverge genetically
during a period of isolation either by drift, differential selection or different
responses to similar selection pressures. When the barrier to dispersal is removed,
this divergence may have led to premating reproductive isolation, post-mating
isolation or both. Only if there is complete assortative mating, hybrid inviability
or hybrid infertility will the two new taxa be able to coexist without exchanging
genes and only if there is at least some premating reproductive isolation will
they be able to invade on another's territory. Otherwise a hybrid zone is expected
to form. Premating isolation may evolve, or be strengthened, in the hybrid zone
because heterogametic matings produce unfit offspring--as first proposed by
Wallace (1889) and subsequently incorporated into speciation theory by Dobzhansky
(1940). However, this 'reinforcement' of premating isolating mechanisms is a
contentious idea . . . --R. K. Butlin & G. M. Hewitt, November 1985. Biological
Journal of the Linnean Society 26(3): 269-270.
In contrast, Alfred Russel Wallace (1864), the co-discoverer of natural selection, stressed that group selection
(i.e. selection not between individuals, but between groups) played an important role, at least among human beings.
Describing the process of human evolution, he wrote: "In proportion as physical characteristics become of less
importance, mental and moral qualities will have increasing importance to the well-being of a race. Capacity for
acting in concern for the protection of food and shelter; sympathy, which leads all in turn to assist each other; the
sense of right, which checks depredation upon our fellows . . . are all qualities that from earliest appearance must
have been for the benefit of each community, and would therefore have become objects of natural selection." . . . --Umberto Melotti, Summer 1985. The Mankind Quarterly 25(4): 324.
This is not meant to demean Darwin. In addition to his genius, Darwin was a warm, liberal man for his times:
opposed to slavery, in favor of electoral reform, and concerned for the oppressed. But he was, in some areas, of his
times and not very far ahead of them. For many scientists of the day, the existent native peoples were virtual
"missing links." It was only through work in Wallace's tradition that "the Negro's skull is no longer placed on the
lecturer's table between that of the gorilla and the Caucasian". At the time, Wallace's belief in the ultimate
intellectual potential of native peoples must have seemed bizarre beyond reason . . . --Stephen E. Glickman,
1985/1992. In Sigmund Koch & David E. Leary, eds., A Century of Psychology as Science (American Psychological
. . . Less than a year later he wrote the first of two papers that together presented, in brief but complete form, a
theory of evolution by natural selection. While the second paper, written three years later, postulated natural
selection in variable populations as the mechanism by which species originated, the first paper (Wallace 1855)
analyzed the significance of extinction within evolving lineages in producing all of the known patterns of organic
distribution in time and space. It must be emphasized that this paper was the first published statement to appreciate
the importance of the extinction of intermediates in a species lineage in creating the oft-observed gaps in taxonomic
affinities, as well as those in distribution in both space and time. This meant that the observed placement of
organisms in the regions of the globe was not the result of supernatural forces and divine objectives, but of the
natural phenomena of extinction and species transmutation (or evolution.) . . . --John L. Brooks, 1985. Earth
Sciences History 4(2): 115.
In his discussion of the debate between Darwin and Wallace, Mayr has claimed, "they used the term 'sterility'
where we would use the term 'isolating mechanisms'." If this were the case, then Darwin advocated the incidental
origin of reproductive isolation mechanisms, Wallace their origin by natural selection. Grant has gone on to suggest
that it would be "fitting and desirable" to call the selective origin of reproductive isolation mechanisms the "Wallace
effect". There can be no question that some late nineteenth-century naturalists did use the word "sterility" where
evolutionists now use "reproductive isolation mechanisms". But I would argue that in their debate Darwin and
Wallace meant what we do by "sterility". The distinction Wallace drew in point 6 of his 1 March 1868 letter
between "disinclination to cross-unions" and "sterility" certainly supports his view. Consequently Wallace was not
proposing the selective origin of reproductive isolation mechanisms in general, but rather the selective origin of the
particular post-mating mechanisms of cross- and hybrid sterility. Since, according to current theory, these forms of
sterility are precisely the types of reproductive isolation that cannot be produced by selection, the Darwin-Wallace
debate provides little historical justification for the term "Wallace effect". The present view on the origin of sterility
is essentially Darwin's view of an incidental origin. Furthermore, during the debate it was Darwin not Wallace who
recognized the possibility of the selective origin of pre-mating reproductive isolation ("disinclination to cross"),
while rejecting the selective origin of cross- and hybrid sterility . . . --Malcolm Jay Kottler, 1985. In David Kohn,
ed., The Darwinian Heritage (Princeton University Press): 416-417.
the support for it we have found thus far--points to the need for renewed examination
of the effects of avian parasites and diseases on their hosts. If females are
indeed choosing males that appear to be advertising their freedom from parasites,
and if showy plumes and melodious voices have evolved from such a prosaic and
down-to-earth cause, perhaps even Alfred Wallace might be mollified . . . --Marlene
Zuk, April 1984. Natural History 93(4): 34.
excellent results may be obtained from a consideration of the habits and characters
of the living bird is, we think, shown in Mr. Wallace's arrangement of the order Passeres. His remarks were published in 1856; but, if we mistake not,
many of his suggestions have been more or less adopted in that part of Professor
Owen's classification which relates to the same group. His conclusions, moreover,
generally harmonize with the improvements proposed by Eyton and Nitzsch before
him, and Blanchard and others after him, on anatomical groups; as also with
what we consider to be the best features in Bonaparte's scheme" [passage quoted
from an anonymous author] . . . --John L. Brooks, 1984. In his Before the
Origin (Columbia University Press): 124.
. . .The explanation of the virtual faunal identity was revealed by the discovery of clear physiographic evidence
that the sea between Aru and New Guinea had been created by recent subsidence--recent in geological time. This
discovery provided Wallace with a geographic situation of the kind he had sought since his Amazonian days.
According to his theory, only a slight change in the organic world should be manifest following a recent
physiographic change. The species of birds, mammals, and insects he found in Aru were identical to those described
for New Guinea, with the sole exception of the Ornithoptera. The Aru form was distinct, but minimally so, from O.
poseidon, described from New Guinea. Observation thus confirmed the theory . . . --John L. Brooks, 1984. In his Before the Origin (Columbia University Press): 172.
Wallace's demonstration that man's tools (including language) removed his body from the realm of
evolutionary specialization that operates inexorably elsewhere was recognized immediately as a turning point in the
scientific study of man. His paper was intended as a vehicle for applying natural selection to a wide range of
concerns--the antiquity of man, racial superiority, man's taxonomic rank--with the clear implication that human
mental and moral attributes would also be subsumed under a strict evolutionary naturalism . . . --Martin Fichman,
1984. In Everett Mendelsohn, ed., Transformation and Tradition in the Sciences; Essays in Honor of I. Bernard
Cohen (Cambridge University Press): 475.
important difference separates Wallace from Dyson and most modern supporters
of the anthropic principle. Our contemporary advocates develop their arguments
and then present their conclusion--that mind designed the universe, in part
so that intelligent life might evolve within it--as a necessary and logical
inference. Wallace was far too good a historical scientist to indulge
in such fatuous certainty; he understood only too well that ordered and complex
outcomes can arise from accumulated improbabilities . . . --Stephen Jay Gould,
May 1983. Natural History 92(5): 38.
selection on females might be stronger than that on males for a variety of reasons.
First, birds might preferentially select females if they were larger, more valuable
(e.g. because they contain eggs or embryos), or more easily captured than males.
Wallace originally proposed a version of this hypothesis to account for female-biased
polymorphisms in butterflies. He suggested that female butterflies might be
more vulnerable to predators because they are laden with eggs and fly more slowly.
Recently, it has been shown that birds do preferentially select female cicadas,
which are less vagile and more nutritious than males. Even if birds did not
discriminate between the sexes in prey species, selection on females might still
be more intense if avian predators encountered or noticed more females than
males. Female-biased encounter rates could result if the sex ratios of adult
prey were heavily skewed towards females, if females occurred more often in
microhabitats frequented by predators, or if females engaged in behaviors that
made them more conspicuous than males. The differential predation hypothesis
would be supported if birds ate females more frequently than males; it can be
refuted if males completely lack protective patterns but are still eaten by
birds . . . --J. A. Stamps & S. M. Gon III, 1983. Annual Review of Ecology
& Systematics 14: 233-234.
collecting briefly near Singapore, Wallace went to Sarawak to meet its celebrated
White Rajah, Sir James Brooke. St. John, Brooke's secretary and biographer,
has written: "We had at this time the famous naturalist, traveller and philosopher,
Alfred Russel Wallace, who was then elaborating in his mind the theory that
was simultaneously worked out by Darwin--the theory of the origin of species;
if he could not convince us that our ugly neighbours, the orang-utans, were
our ancestors, he pleased, instructed and delighted us by his clever and inexhaustible
flow of talk--really good talk" (Life of Sir James Brooke, 1890). So
much for the quiet, shy man . . . --Ralph E. Bernstein, 3 June 1982. New
Scientist 94: 653.
that study of specimens and field observations in New Guinea presently warrant
two conclusions. First, orioles are indeed mimics of friarbirds, as Wallace
postulated over a century ago. The case for mimicry is much stronger than Wallace
realized: he had seen only two of the eight sets of populations that we now
know . . . --Jared M. Diamond, April 1982. The Auk 99(2): 193.
. . .
Spencer, wrote Wallace, was misconceiving natural selection. It does not work
by favouring 'any special bone, or muscle, or limb . . . but by the selection
of the capacities or qualities.' By 'capacities or qualities' Wallace meant
things like strength or speed. Wallace maintained that artificial selection
works in the same way. The breeder selects for qualities such as quickness,
not for particular variations of bones. 'The two modes of selection are thus
strictly analogous and strictly comparable.' He further insisted that natural
selection is not limited by the supply of variation because 'as a matter of
fact, there is a sufficiency of useful variation always present in
each succeeding generation to increase any required life-preserving quality,
all theoretical objections to the contrary notwithstanding.' Artificial selection
is not the 'point after point' improvement of organs; both modes of selection
transform structures as a whole, by selecting for a capacity. Each step in the
selection of a capacity would produce an improvement so Romanes' and Spencer's
criticism would not apply . . . --Mark Ridley, March 1982. British Journal
for the History of Science 15(1): 61.
consideration of both theories shows quite readily their differences in emphasis.
Darwin was theorizing as to why males were brightly coloured. All Wallace (1891)
could offer that pertained directly to this point was the vitalistic argument
that male colour was due to "great vigour and health and generally higher vitality".
Wallace in his Theory of Bird's Nests, had a perfectly reasonable hypothesis
as to why females are dull--not the same question Darwin was trying to answer
. . . --R. B. Aiken, 1982. Quaestiones Entomologicae 18(1-4): 8.
. . . But what of Wallace? He was not as involved in the question of aesthetic taste of females as he was in the
question of animal colouration. Interestingly enough, criticisms from Wallace focused on ambiguity in the argument
about female aesthetic sense. The process by which female choice was effected was not made clear. Most discussion
revolved around the issue of whether females were exercising some conscious choice or were being excited by and
yielding to a male. Was it selecting or succumbing? Darwin (1871) originally thought it was selection. He states:
"No doubt this implies powers of discrimination and taste on the part of the female . . ." Wallace (1891, 1901)
objected to this notion of conscious choice, returning again and again to the admonition that female choice could not
be shown in nature. Wallace stated that while female birds may be excited by a display of decorative plumage, there
was no reason to suppose that this conferred a mating advantage. It is difficult to understand Wallace's reasoning in
the light of his own ideas. He stated that colour and ornament are concomitant with vigour and general health and
that it is the most healthy, persistent males that will mate. Differences between Darwin and Wallace seem to be a
matter of mechanism rather than basic principles . . . --R. B. Aiken, 1982. Quaestiones Entomologicae 18(1-4): 10.
To Wallace, Victorian scientists' failure to consider the implications their work held for moral behavior
indicated severely misplaced priorities. In Spiritualism's demonstration of the reality of the soul, he himself found a
basis for belief in moral as well as material evolution. Scientists' refusal to address so important a matter, Wallace
believed, revealed an amoral materialism and, as such, outright dereliction of scientific duty . . . --John J. Cerullo,
1982. In his The Secularization of the Soul; Psychical Research in Modern Britain (Institute for the Study of
Human Issues): 28.
Wallace states his thesis with extraordinary clarity: "There is a general principle in nature which will cause
many varieties to survive the parent species, and to give rise to successive variations, departing further and further
from the original type. The language in which this observation is presented is rather typological; Wallace's
conclusion, however, clearly contradicts Lyell's claim that "varieties have strict limits, and can never vary more than
a small amount away from the original type." The most important aspect of Wallace's analysis is that he carefully
stayed away from the quagmire of the morphological controversy on species and varieties but based his conclusion
on a rather strictly ecological argument. He concluded that population size of a species is not at all determined by
fertility but by natural checks on potential population increase. An enormous number of animals must die each year
to keep the number constant, and "those that die must be the weakest--the very young, the aged, and the diseased--while those that prolong their existence can only be the most perfect in health and vigour--those who are best able to
obtain food regularly and avoid their numerous enemies." . . . --Ernst Mayr, 1982. In his The Growth of Biological
Thought: Diversity, Evolution, and Inheritance (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press): 495.
Wallace couched his new argument about evolution and man in 1869 not in terms of spiritualism, in which he
was unable to interest seriously the majority of his fellow evolutionists, but in terms of utility. He used the essential
principle of evolution to deny the evolution of man. To recapitulate, natural selection is a theory of usefulness--traits
are selected in individuals because they confer some use to the individual in the struggle for survival. Wallace
rejected sexual selection in the name of this principle. But applying now the same principle to man, Wallace argued
that many of the traits characteristic of man were in fact of no use when they first arose, and therefore could not
have been developed by natural selection . . . --Nancy Stepan, 1982. In her The Idea of Race in Science: Great
Britain 1800-1960 (Archon Books): 71.
issues like these must have been a preoccupation of Alfred Russel Wallace a
century ago. Wallace, the coauthor of the theory of evolution, reneged on the
theory in excluding man from his rightful place on the evolutionary tree. He
did so because he could not reconcile (see especially Wallace 1891) the incredible
capacity for humans to process information (as evidenced by the accomplishments
of a learned man of society in Victorian times) with the fact that such capacity
went largely unused throughout the entire period of human evolution (extrapolation
based on his observations of "primitive" peoples in what is today Eastern Indonesia.)
Wallace's dilemma has never been completely resolved. . . --David F. Lancy &
Andrew J. Strathern, December 1981. American Anthropologist 83(4):
books about life on Mars provoked Alfred R. Wallace, with Darwin the discoverer
of the theory of evolution by natural selection, into analysing the likelihood
of the evolution of an intelligent species elsewhere in the Universe. He concluded
that it was essentially zero, and thus we are alone in the Universe. His arguments
are worth repeating in detail, because although published in 1905 they are exactly
the same as those given by modern evolutionists such as Dobzhansky, Simpson,
and Mayr. Thus the biological arguments against the evolution of intelligence
have not changed in 75 years. The great evolutionists have always been united
against ETI. The biologists who have supported ETI have generally been biologists
with the viewpoint of a physicist, and lacking the historical sense of the evolutionist.
Such men often err in questions about evolutionary biology; in particular they
err about questions concerning the probability of the evolution of a species
with specified properties, as the recent recombinant DNA debate shows . . .
--Frank J. Tipler, June 1981. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical
Society 22(2): 140.
Wallace does not show a concern for Darwin's problem with the 'swamping effect', i.e., the dilution and loss of
variants from crossing back into the unvaried population. Accordingly we don't find in Wallace's writings Darwin's
attempt to explain speciation by isolation. Possibly Wallace concluded swamping could be ignored because by
observation permanent varieties/species exist in nature. Thus he might have concluded backcrossing is in fact not
significant in nature. Also, as he viewed the line between species as something other than a barrier preventing
intermixing, he would not have felt the need to explain how such barriers are effective. Another consideration that
subsequently supports Wallace's attitude is implicit in his approach to the theory of natural selection. Unlike
Darwin, Wallace used the knowledge of domestic animals against the claim that species are permanent and not to
support evolution, as did Darwin. In domestic animals, natural selection tends to favor reversion to original unvaried
forms . . . --Scott A. Kleiner, April 1981. Synthese 47(1): 146-147.
. . . To consider now the main problem of concern to Darwin and Wallace, the origin problem, not only is there
lacking a decision procedure for determining whether the goal state is reached, but also, as we have argued above,
the goal state for why-questions cannot be fully described in advance without actually answering the question.
Although Darwin cannot and does not specify in advance the kind of explanatory mechanism he is seeking he is
able to say what kind of causal process he does not want, viz., the agent--teleological process of the creationist
theories. His goal state can be described only in terms of a few desiderata, viz., a theory consisting of universal laws
applicable to all organisms including humans and bringing together a wide variety of previously unconnected facts,
and one in which the process of evolution is "gradual" in the sense that it is in conformity with Lyellian
uniformitarianism applied to living organisms. Specifically, all large evolutionary changes are to be explained in
terms of persistant small incremental changes occurring over a long time, and the law governing these changes are
the same throughout geological time even though varying local conditions may produce happenings in the past that
are not presently occurring or rather sudden and calamitous effects on local biota . . . --Scott A. Kleiner, April 1981. Synthese 47(1): 154.
A key process in speciation among sexual organisms is the evolution of reproductive isolation. There are
essentially two views on the origin of isolating mechanisms . . . The first view, championed by Darwin (1872), holds
that isolating mechanisms originate as an incidental by-product of genetic divergence in geographically isolated
populations. The second view, argued by Wallace (1889), holds that isolating mechanisms are established by means
of natural selection in zones of overlap between incipient species . . . The contemporary view, which holds that
premating reproductive barriers (often behavioral) are built up by natural selection in areas of sympatry in order to
supercede postmating barriers that arose allopatrically, has come to be known as the Wallace effect. The plausibility
of the Wallace effect has been demonstrated by Knight et al. (1956) and by Kessler (1966), who showed that
artificial selection could be successful in enhancing premating reproductive isolation in Drosophila. In light of the
important role of the Wallace effect in modern speciation theory, it is surprising that the phenomenon has not been
studied quantitatively . . . --Stanley Sawyer & Daniel Hartl, April 1981. Theoretical Population Biology 19(2): 261-262.
Some zoologists, like Raven in 1935, considered the validity of Wallace's line on the basis of the proportion of
mammals that had crossed the line going east compared with those that had not and came to the conclusion that
Wallace's line marked a boundary which was the eastern limit of the great majority of East Indian mammals, like
rhinoceroses and elephants. Others made their assessment on the proportion of western and eastern elements to be
found on each island in Wallacea. Thus, Rensch in 1935, following Mertens (1934), calculated that 88 per cent of
the butterflies were of western origin which was a similar proportion to that found on Lombok and more than twice
as high as for the Kai Islands. Following the same line of argument for Austral-Malayan birds, Ernst Mayr
calculated that 67.6 per cent of the passerines were from the west and decided that 'there is no doubt, Celebes must
be included with the Oriental region' (Mayr, 1944) . . . --Wilma George, 1981. In T. C. Whitmore, ed., Wallace's
Line and Plate Tectonics (Oxford University Press): 5.
that islands are somehow different stems from the concerns of naturalists. The
observations by Darwin and others that the existence of islands permitted the
development of significant variations in plant and animal life formed an important
part of the intellectual underpinning of theories of evolution. Thus Wallace,
in his study of island life (1880), points out that 'some of the most remarkable
and interesting facts in the distribution and affinities of organic forms are
presented by islands in relation to each other and to the surrounding continents'.
He refers to 'the unexpected relations or singular anomalies which are so often
found to characterize the fauna and flora of islands'. More recently, there
has been a growing interest in the total ecological balance of islands (already
hinted at in Wallace's work) . . . --Percy Selwyn, December 1980. World
Development 8(12): 945.
. . .
it is interesting to note that in this disagreement there are faint echoes of
the other matter which separated Darwin and Wallace at this time: sexual selection
through female choice. Darwin wanted to argue that the beauty of, say, the peacock
as opposed to the peahen, is a function of the females choosing beautiful males.
Wallace argued that the difference is essentially a function of the females
being more drab than the males, this drabness coming through the female's need
for camouflage from predators as they incubate their eggs and care for their
young. In arguing this way, Wallace was certainly not invoking group selection.
However, unlike Darwin, who was emphasizing the individual nature of selection
by seeing the main competition (at this point) as coming from within the species,
Wallace was deemphasizing competition within the group by seeing the threat
coming from without . . . --Michael Ruse, November 1980. Annals of Science 37(6): 625.
. . .
let us offer solace to the opponents of human sociobiology. If one uncomfortable
with a rather extreme individual selectionism, particularly as applied to man,
and if one yet wants historical precedent to legitimize one's yearnings, then
no less than the sociobiologists can one find the most respectable of intellectual
ancestors. One may not be able to claim one of the fathers of evolutionism,
but one can claim the other: Alfred Russel Wallace. He was a group selectionist,
and moreover he was not prepared to see man treated on a par with other organisms.
I certainly do not want to pretend that today's biologists would find convincing
the details of Wallace's doubts about the all-sufficiency of individual selection,
or that those who criticize human sociobiology grind the same metaphysical axe
as did Wallace (although interestingly, politically Wallace was fairly left-wing,
as are many of today's critics). But, given Wallace's conclusions, it does seem
true to say that the critics of human sociobiology are no less part of the evolutionary
tradition than those they criticize! . . . --Michael Ruse, November 1980. Annals
of Science 37(6): 630.
. . .
this letter . . . reveals in clearer outline the professional relationship between
Spruce and Wallace and their mutual but competitive interests in the Palmae:
their meeting in the Amazon, the discovery that they had made similar collections
in this important family, Spruce's offer to collaborate on the book and Wallace's
subsequent refusal. It appears that Spruce was discouraged on learning that
Wallace had discovered and intended to name and describe the same palms, primarily
those along the Rio Negro, that he had studied. He writes of "relaxing" his
study of the palms, in view of the fact that Wallace would return to England
and publish his results before Spruce left South America. Clearly, in this instance,
Spruce felt botanically somewhat overshadowed by Wallace, whom he considered
a distinguished zoologist and friend . . . --Michael J. Balick, September 1980. Botanical Museum Leaflets 28(3): 265.
A major misconception about this debate has become fairly widespread. According to this misconception,
Darwin was for sexual selection, while Wallace was against it and for natural selection instead. It is true that from
1876 on, Wallace gave up sexual selection--he rejected female choice completely and interpreted male combat as
just a form of natural selection. But the debate between Darwin and Wallace took place in 1867 and 1868, with a
brief resumption in 1871 after publication of the Descent of Man. During this earlier period, Wallace fully accepted
female choice and male choice, at least in birds. Wherever Darwin invoked female choice or male choice in birds,
Wallace invoked it too. In other words, Darwin and Wallace agreed that, in birds, sexual selection was the cause of
the coloration of the more brilliantly colored sex. Thus the debate did not come down to all sexual selection on one
side and all natural selection on the other. The disagreement with respect to birds centered on the cause of the
coloration of the less conspicuous sex . . . --Malcolm Jay Kottler, June 1980. Proceedings of the American
Philosophical Society 124(3): 203-204.
. . . The basic reason for their divergence was Darwin's belief that, although the most common form of
inheritance was equal inheritance by both sexes, variations first appearing in one sex were fairly often sex-limited in
inheritance from the first. Thus female choice alone, in conjunction with sex-limited inheritance from the first of the
variations sexually selected in the male, would produce a conspicuous male and an inconspicuous female; in such
cases, natural selection for the sake of protection of the sex in greater danger was unnecessary . . . --Malcolm Jay
Kottler, June 1980. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 124(3): 204.
I cannot analyze Wallace's psyche and will not comment on his deeper motives for hewing to the unbridgeable
gap between human intellect and the behavior of mere animals. But I can assess the logic of his argument and
recognize that the traditional account is not only incorrect, but precisely backward. Wallace did not abandon natural
selection at the human threshold. Rather, it was his peculiarly rigid view of natural selection that led him, quite
consistently, to reject it for the human mind. His position never varied--natural selection is the only cause of major
evolutionary change. His two major debates with Darwin--sexual selection and the origin of human intellect--represent the same argument, not an inconsistent Wallace championing selection in one case and running from it in
the other . . . --Stephen Jay Gould, January 1980. Natural History 89(1): 35-36.
. . . Wallace's anthropology closely paralleled his interest in natural ecology. He asked very similar questions
about the peoples he encountered to those he asked about other organic forms. These were questions on how well a
region could support a population; what were the natural checks on its expansion; the relationship between
subsistence and size of population. His other preoccupation was with the geographical distribution of peoples. He
put much greater emphasis than Darwin upon the role of geographical isolation in the evolution of species and
varieties. Similarly he attributed many of the human racial differences in the Malay area to geographical isolation.
Wallace was also interested in the effect on human evolution of that other major plank of natural ecology--migration. He spent some time in the classification of the languages of the Malay region partly for the clues they
might reveal about the migration patterns of the peoples in the area . . . --Greta Jones, 1980. In her Social
Darwinism and English Thought; The Interaction Between Biological and Social Theory (Humanities Press): 26-27.
James first anticipated some of his mature opinions on race and nationality
in an 1865 review of A. R. Wallace's article, "The Origins of the Human Race."
Agreeing with Wallace, James held that the races of humanity developed from
a common ancestor through natural selection. Race differentiation antedated
all but the most rudimentary forms of social organization. But soon every race
evolved more elaborate social systems. Natural selection then became more complicated.
The environment supported whichever groups acted together; each group protected
whichever individuals it valued. Such social selection allowed physically weak
people to survive and reproduce so long as they served community ideals. Survival
of the weak checked physical evolution. Further progress then had to be mental
and moral . . . --Larry C. Miller, Fall 1979. American Quarterly 31(4):
held generalization about tropical tree species is that most occur at very low
adult densities and are of relatively uniform dispersion, such that adult individuals
of the tree species are thinly and evenly distributed in space. If true, this
generalization has potentially profound consequences for the reproductive biology,
population structure, and evolution of tropical tree species. In this article
the adequacy of this generalization is judged with respect to a particular tropical
forest, a large tract of which has been mapped in detail. The origins of this
generalization can be traced back at least to Wallace . . . --Stephen P. Hubbell,
30 March 1979. Science 203(4387): 1299.
reflected a general tendency of Spencer and his contemporaries to distinguish
higher and lower stages in all development: barbarism and civilization, status
and contract, militarism and industrialism. In this instance, he also joined
the controversy that developed in the late sixties between Darwin and A. Russel
Wallace as to whether natural selection altered bodily structure at all stages
of evolution. Darwin believed it did. Wallace maintained that, with the attainment
of a certain level of intelligence, mental changes superceded physical ones.
Spencer preferred the thrust of Wallace's view. He himself had earlier identified
the importance of cerebral development among the races of man. But he rejected
Wallace's view that such cerebral development within societies resulted from
the natural selection of spontaneous variations in the brain . . . --Robert
C. Bannister, 1979. In his Social Darwinism: Science and Myth in
Anglo-American Social Thought (Temple University Press): 47.
. . . Fiske's philosophy was inherently conservative in that he stressed the slowness of change, which he neither
wanted nor urged. However, the context was also usually religious. His system would bring no religious revolution,
no attacks on existing churches, he assured readers in the conclusion of the Cosmic Philosophy. In the one section
in which he discussed social evolution--published earlier in the North American Review under the title "From Brute
to Man"--Fiske differed little from the speculations of A. R. Wallace, whose work he described as "one of the most
brilliant contributions ever yet made to the Doctrine of Evolution." Like Wallace, he believed that natural selection
ceased operating on bodily factors with the appearance of the human brain. "And hence in the future as in the recent
past," he told readers of the North American Review, "the dominant fact in the career of humanity is not physical
modification but civilization." . . . --Robert C. Bannister, 1979. In his Social Darwinism: Science and Myth in
Anglo-American Social Thought (Temple University Press): 65.
. . . Darwinism upset such happy assumptions. Throughout his career [Henry] George harbored suspicion of the
theory, a suspicion that colored his thought no less than Carey's and Bowen's. In Progress and Poverty he
attempted to evade the issue. How men had originated was not his concern: "all we know of him is as man." But his
hostility was plain. During the 1880s he mellowed somewhat, comforted by the views of the British biologist A. R.
Wallace (who early preached the "limits of evolution as applied to man," and who also befriended George during
his English crusade), and of St. George Mivart, a leading Christian evolutionist who, more firmly than Wallace,
denied that natural selection has shaped human faculties. By the 1890s George could manage grudging acceptance .
. . --Robert C. Bannister, 1979. In his Social Darwinism: Science and Myth in Anglo-American Social Thought (Temple University Press): 120.
. . . His view of "mental and moral progress" (which sociologists would later call cultural evolution) also led to
the conclusion "that the higher--the more intellectual and moral--must displace the lower and degraded races." But
his process was again not analogous to struggle and selection in nature. Certain that improvement would come,
Wallace would not attribute it to survival of the fittest. Following a popular usage of the day, he equated such
survival with the success of "the mediocre, if not the low, both as regards morality and intelligence." Rather, as with
mind itself, mysterious forces were at work. The "glorious qualities" of men were the "surest proof" of "higher
existences than ourselves." The goal was not racial imperialism but the brotherhood of man: "a single nearly
homogeneous race, no individual of which will be inferior to the noblest specimens of existing humanity." . . . --Robert C. Bannister, 1979. In his Social Darwinism: Science and Myth in Anglo-American Social Thought (Temple
University Press): 185-186.
But, of course, it does matter who starts the trend. If it had been Wallace instead of Darwin, we would have had
a very different theory of evolution today. The whole cybernetics movement might have occurred 100 years earlier
as a result of Wallace's comparison between the steam engine with a governor and the process of natural selection .
. . --Gregory Bateson, 1979. In his Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity (E. P. Dutton): 43.
. . . It was Alfred Russel Wallace who remarked in 1866 that the principle of natural selection is like that of the
steam engine with a governor. I shall assume that this is indeed so and that both the process of individual learning
and the process of population shift under natural selection can exhibit the pathologies of all cybernetic circuits:
excessive oscillation and runaway. In sum, I shall assume that evolutionary change and somatic change (including
learning and thought) are fundamentally similar, that both are stochastic in nature, although surely the ideas
(injunctions, descriptive propositions, and so on) on which each process works are of totally different logical typing
from the typing of ideas in the other process . . . --Gregory Bateson, 1979. In his Mind and Nature: A Necessary
Unity (E. P. Dutton): 148.
. . . [W. R.] Greg represented those who saw competitive individualism as the logical outcome of the operation
in society of the law of natural selection; for him, naturalism in sociology was equivalent to the Hobbesian vision of
a continual 'war of all against all'. But equally, Wallace was representative of a considerable number of people who
claimed that man was unique in nature precisely because of his ability to transcend this state of affairs; by stressing
the biological advantages of intelligent cooperation, he attempted to reconcile Darwinian principles with a very
different moral and political vision. Thus, the dispute involved a fundamental conflict of ideologies, even though it
was fought out almost wholly within a naturalistic framework. This conflict was to be a recurrent feature of
Wallace's thought; and indeed it is still with us today in 'sociobiological' discussions of the legitimacy of the theory
of 'group selection.' . . . --John R. Durant, 1979. British Journal for the History of Science 12(40): 45.
who unfortunately never wrote a book on the subject, probed deeper into the
nature of man than any of the circle immediately around Darwin. Because in the
end science has so thoroughly accepted them, we have not only forgotten their
source but also forgotten how heretical some of his views were at the time they
were uttered. First Wallace postulated an erect, small-brained bipedal stage
of human development, followed by a second phase in which the human brain and
cranium assumed their present size and form. Only with the present-day discovery
of the Australopithecine man-apes is the early stage beginning to be documented.
Second, he quickly saw that the complete fossil history of man might well be
prolonged far beyond Pleistocene times, and that the big-brained men of the
upper Pleistocene, who were at that time troubling the evolutionists, need not
be regarded as an effective argument against the reality of the human transformation.
Rather, the scientists must cease confusing living races with grades or levels
on the evolutionary scale of the past--something which was at that time exceedingly
common . . . --Loren Eiseley, 1979. In his Darwin and the Mysterious Mr.
X; New Light on the Evolutionists (E. P. Dutton): 197.
Wallace and many later biogeographers have proposed that tropical areas support more species than temperate
zones simply because they have not been glaciated and are thus ecologically older. Although evidence is very scant,
under this interpretation the observed high tropical diversity is a result of long-term undisturbed speciation. If so,
the latitudinal trend in species numbers is partially attributable to a strictly geographic factor (latitude) . . . --Joseph
J. Schall & Eric R. Pianka, 25 August 1978. Science 201 (4357): 681.
It is likely, for instance, that Wilde would have sympathized with Grant Allen's and A. R. Wallace's eugenic
plans. Allen argued in his essays for free love as part of a eugenic proposal which encouraged women to choose for
child-bearing purposes temporary mates from among the finest, healthiest, and most intelligent men. Wallace, in an
essay which appeared in The Fortnightly Review, four months before "The Soul of Man Under Socialism," also
outlined a nonauthoritarian socialist scheme for human improvement through sexual selection. Stating that
education could not lead to permanent cultural improvement, Wallace suggested that once removed from economic
competition, and totally free to choose a mate, women would be attracted to men who embodied what Victorians
called "the higher qualities," and the cumulative hereditary impact of that sexual selection would therefore improve
the culture of the race. In February 1891, when Wilde published "The Soul of Man Under Socialism," in The
Fortnightly Review, he argued that marriage and family should be abolished in favor of a freer and more beautiful
love relationship between man and woman. His suggestion can be understood as one of his proposals for a socialist
utopia and, indeed, as his contribution to the debate among socialists and cultural critics over the eugenic role of
sexual selection in cultural improvement . . . --Michael S. Helfand & Philip E. Smith II, Summer 1978. Texas
Studies in Literature and Language 20(2): 211.
Must fantasy inevitably accompany speculation on the plurality of worlds? Fortunately not, for even the history
of the question contains a few indications of sober deliberation. In this respect, two nineteenth-century dissenters on
plurality, William Whewell and Alfred Russel Wallace, stand out as the first post-Copernican thinkers to rein in
imagination by proposing sensible rules for thinking about such a provocative but thorny issue. When Whewell's Of
the Plurality of Worlds was published in 1853, it challenged what had become, since the sixteenth century, a
traditional belief in the existence of life elsewhere. Fifty years later, Alfred Russel Wallace, co-discoverer of the
theory of natural selection and later Percival Lowell's most tenacious opponent, extended the dissenting tradition by
writing the first study that successfully synthesized biological and astronomical perspectives on life in a plurality of
worlds . . . --William C. Heffernan, January-March 1978. Journal of the History of Ideas 39(1): 82-83.
. . . However unkind it became, most criticism of Man's Place in the Universe was kept within the confines of
the dissenters' strictures on reasoning. There was a gratifying irony in this, for while most of Wallace's peers found
fault with the book, they unwittingly based their comments on the rules which Whewell and Wallace considered
necessary for careful speculation on plurality. For instance, H. H. Turner, the Savilian professor of astronomy at
Oxford, captured the thrust of the many unfavorable reviews of Man's Place when he insisted that the universe is
probably not bounded in the sense of having an edge; that even if it were, there would be no center; and that even if
the sun were at the center, such a position would not be uniquely stable. Like other critics, Turner was able to seize
on the flaws in the argument of life beyond the solar system and thus ignore the strengths of Wallace's overall
position--the banishment of theology when considerations of probability were at stake, the introduction of an
explicitly evolutionary perspective, and the low likelihood of life within the solar system. Wallace had created a
grand and only somewhat flawed synthesis, although few people remarked on this . . . --William C. Heffernan,
January-March 1978. Journal of the History of Ideas 39(1): 92-93.
. . . And what about the climate itself? Lowell had claimed that although Mars receives only half the earth's
heat, the absence of an atmosphere would actually mean that the sun's radiation would have a more direct effect on
it than on the earth. Wallace was appalled that a respected scientist could be responsible for such an hypothesis. The
opposite would have to be the case, as Wallace showed: because of its lack of sufficient atmosphere, Mars must
retain heat more poorly than the earth. There would also have to be greater variations in temperature between the
ground and the air a few feet above it, and Wallace pointed out that these would impede the development of
advanced organisms . . . --William C. Heffernan, January-March 1978. Journal of the History of Ideas 39(1): 95.
. . . Since both the dissenters and their "majoritarian" opponents were moved by extra-scientific convictions,
could it be said that the two traditions were methodologically indistinguishable? Certainly not. Precisely because
they were dissenters, Whewell and Wallace had been forced to articulate their position with a degree of care that no
pluralist had ever shown. Because they were inspired by different and unusual convictions about man's status, the
dissenters had to take the scientific road to plurality; for their case would not otherwise have been heard. In this
way, discussion of the possibility of life in other worlds was transformed; for in later years, the metaphysical
context of the debate would fall away, leaving a core of scientifically grounded speculation for which Whewell and
Wallace had prepared the way . . . --William C. Heffernan, January-March 1978. Journal of the History of Ideas 39(1): 100.
of surplusage seems most directly traceable to Alfred Russel Wallace (1870).
His belief that savages possessed brains far in excess of their requirements
was the germinal idea of surplusage; consider, he would argue, that civilized
humans use the same brain as that of savages to accomplish higher mental feats
such as mathematical reasoning, a kind of reasoning never required of our primitive
ancestors. If the potential for higher mental processes appeared before it was
evolutionarily adaptive, what caused its presence? This is the dilemma posed
by the notion of surplusage. As naive as the arguments about savages might seem
today, surplusage remains an interesting consideration for psychologists studying
animal intelligence in the laboratory . . . --Robert Boice, June 1977. Bulletin
of the Psychonomic Society 9(6): 452.
work played a critical role in the biologists' attempts to obviate the threats
posed to evolutionary theory by Kelvin's argument for a shortened history of
the earth. But Croll's ideas had an even broader significance for Wallace: they
functioned as a catalyst for his magisterial formulation of zoogeography. The
explanatory potential of glacial theory with respect to the question of the
migration and distribution of animals and plants was considerably enhanced by
Croll's speculations, and Wallace was alert to their implications for his work
on geographical distribution . . . --Martin Fichman, Spring 1977. Journal
of the History of Biology 10(1): 60-61.
. . .
Wallace and Huxley disagreed about how humans evolved because they had different
perceptions of non-western people and the working class. Those perceptions were
informed by different social experiences. Wallace's was an unusual experience
in the nineteenth century, and it led him to an interpretation of human development
with which modern anthropologists generally agree, that the artifice of culture
informs our perceptions. How our opinions and experiences can remain unaffected
or uninvolved in a holistic theory like human evolution remains a mystery. Yet
that is the working assumption of most scientists and bureaucrats of science
. . . --Michael S. Helfand, Winter 1977. Victorian Studies, 20(2):
Wallace's hypothesis that visual stimuli provided by the insect become a conditioned
signal for predatory animals through association with its noxious taste was
formulated 24 years before I. P. Pavlov was elected Professor of Pharmacology
at the Military Medical Academy of St. Petersburg. Several years later, Pavlov
was to begin his studies there on "psychic" reflexes, employing visual and auditory
stimuli to signal the taste of acid or meat powder in the mouth of dogs. Poulton's
summary of two decades of comparative animal research upon the positive effects
of satisfying foods and the negative effects of annoying tastes was presented
eleven years before E. L. Thorndike's (1897) doctoral thesis on animal intelligence
and the law of effect. Pavlov and Thorndike went on to investigate conditioned
responses more rigorously, and ultimately their students operationally defined
a series of methodological "laws" . . . --John Garcia & Walter G. Hankins,
1977. In Lewis M. Barker et al., eds., Learning Mechanisms in Food
Selection (Baylor University Press): 6.
. . .
I want to suggest that the first step in any study of his contribution must
be a careful analysis of how he actually presented his idea in the 1858 paper,
concentrating especially on the kind of variation that was the basis of natural
selection. Strangely enough, such a detailed analysis is provided neither by
Beddall nor McKinney, both of whom simply assume that what Wallace eventually
discovered was a straightforward equivalent of the Darwinian theory. This assumption
is common to most general accounts of the history of evolutionism, and was shared
by Darwin himself. But there are good reasons for suggesting that Wallace's
initial concept of selection differed considerably from Darwin's, or at least
was expressed in very different terms . . . --Peter J. Bowler, January 1976. Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 31(1): 18.
. . . It was only at a later
stage in his thought--after he had discovered the principle of divergence--that
Darwin actually came to realize that varieties would at some stage have to compete
with one another. The essence of Wallace's mechanism was for Darwin a secondary
insight gained some time after he had worked out the primary mechanism of selection
acting on individual differences. Furthermore, when Darwin discussed varieties
coming into conflict, he pictured this as a geographical effect caused by one
form's invading and conquering the territory of the other. Wallace on the other
hand, simply wrote of species splitting into varieties as though this occurred
across the whole geographical range, with members of each variety in face-to-face
conflict at all points. Wallace's failure to appreciate the role of geographical
factors in the formation of varieties again suggests that he may not at first
have recognized natural selection as the agency that created the varieties out
of individual differences. Or, if he did recognize the action of natural selection
on individual differences, he had certainly failed to work out its full implications
for his own theory of selection acting among the varieties . . . --Peter J.
Bowler, January 1976. Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 31(1): 22-23.
. . .
It is clear that in the later stages of his career Wallace was fully aware of
the importance of individual variation to selection. He was able to exploit
both modes of representation employed by Darwin, using especially the range
concept to make a notable contribution to the measurement of variation among
wild populations. But all of this occurred after he had read the Origin
of Species, with its clear descriptions of Darwin's primary conception
of selection's acting on the individual differences first to form varieties
and then species. His own first paper on natural selection had side-stepped
this level of the mechanism and developed a theory of competition among the
varieties after they had been formed. This was a valid Darwinian mechanism,
but one which to Darwin himself represented a second level of selection which
utilized the varieties formed from the selection of individual variations. It
may be that from the beginning Wallace also recognized the primary action of
selection upon individual differences, and simply preferred to describe the
mechanism acting at the second level because he was more familiar with what
he called permanent varieties. But even if this were so, there are certain points
in the 1858 paper which suggest that he had at least failed to work out the
consequences of the first level of selection for his own theory . . . --Peter
J. Bowler, January 1976. Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 31(1): 28.
point Wallace reasoned logically and with telling effect that even if martians
existed they could not have the high intelligence with which Lowell credited
them. For the "canals" they were supposed to have built in many instances ran
for thousands of miles across arid deserts and beneath clear cloudless skies,
thus "losing enormously from evaporation, if we assume them to contain water.
The mere attempt to use open canals for irrigation purposes would argue ignorance
and stupidity. Long before half of them were completed, their failure to be
of any use would have led any rational being to cease constructing them." .
. . --William Graves Hoyt, 1976. In his Lowell and Mars (University
of Arizona Press): 215.
have been formulated over the years to explain the evolution of vertebrate color
vision. Most have dealt with possible modifications of photoreceptors and neuronal
layers of the retina (see especially Edridge-Green, 1920; Ladd-Franklin, 1929;
Willmer, 1949; Pickford, 1951) and have hardly considered function. Only Wallace
(1891, p. 411) and Walls (1942, p. 463) appear to have seriously asked the question,
"Why color vision?" Each suggested that color detection originated to provide
for the strongest contrast and, therefore, to enhance the visibility of objects
against the background. We believe that this simple and prescient suggestion
is correct . . . --W. N. McFarland & F. W. Munz, October 1975. Vision
Research 15: 1071.
. . .
a major aim of Vestiges is to show that as good Newtonians we much
accept a biological evolutionary theory. Wallace, I think, whilst rejecting
as inadequate Chambers' own evolutionary theory, entirely accepted Chambers'
research programme, to find the biological analogue of Newtonian astronomy.
Thus I would suggest that Wallace like Darwin, may have reacted favourably to
Malthus' ideas because he could then start to see his way towards a biological
equivalent of Newtonian astronomy. Hence, I think that Darwin and Wallace quite
possibly started from similar philosophical positions, although I have no reason
to believe that they drew on exactly the same immediate sources for the philosophies
. . . --Michael Ruse, June 1975. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 6(2): 172-173.
. . .
By combining what he considered to be the reliable features of both the calculations,
the more recent date for the ice age and a consequently accelerated rate of
species change, Wallace arrived at a figure of 24 million years for the time
since the beginning of the Cambrian. This estimate, he concluded happily, would
fit easily within Kelvin's limits and still leave a period three times as long
for the slow operation of natural selection during the Precambrian. Wallace
was not finished, however, for it was in the application of Croll's hypothesis
to biology that he showed the true measure of his ingenuity. Neither he nor
Darwin had ever completely escaped from the Lamarckian dependence upon environment
as a causal factor in species change. And now he saw in the radical changes
of climate a mechanism whereby the continuously "altered physical conditions
would induce variation." Furthermore, in alternating from one hemisphere
to the other, the successive cycles of glaciation would stimulate a constant
migration of plant and animal types, thus continually bringing allied species
into competition and accelerating the process of extinction . . . --Joe D. Burchfield,
September 1974. Isis 65(228): 317.
. . .
As early as 1876, the naturalist and zoogeographer Alfred Wallace noted that
"we live in a zoologically impoverished world, from which all of the hugest,
and fiercest, and strangest forms have recently disappeared." He remarked especially
on the "sudden dying out of so many large Mammalia, not in only one place but
over half the land surface of the globe" (Wallace 1876). At the end of the Pleistocene
in North America, there was a loss of 33 genera of large mammals (>50 kg),
while only 13 genera had become extinct in the preceding 1 or 2 million years.
Smaller mammals (<50 kg) were not similarly affected, nor were marine mammals,
which we might also expect to show high extinction rates if the cause were environmental
catastrophes. Wallace (1911) observed that these sudden extinctions were not
correlated with major environmental changes, such as those responsible for the
extinction of the dinosaurs, but seemed to coincide with the arrival, on different
continents at different times, of Stone Age man . . . --Richard S. Miller &
Daniel B. Botkin, March-April 1974. American Scientist 62(2): 172.
of the separation of the human personality from the human body meant that Wallace
considered man and the relation of science to man in a context wholly different
from that of the advocates of scientific naturalism. As William Irvine once
described the evolution of Huxley's mind, "He became interested in man as a
physical mechanism, as an anthropoid ape, as a social unit and a citizen, as
a delicate machine for the discovery of scientific truth, but never to any appreciable
extent in man as a personality and a human being." Wallace's development was
exactly the reverse. He was originally interested in the physical mechanism
of man for the sake of the moral personality encased therein. He studied the
anthropoid ape because it resembled man. He wrote on social questions in the
hope that society might be so organized as to allow the moral faculties to flourish.
Throughout his long and varied scientific career, Wallace was primarily concerned
with what Koestler has dubbed "the ghost in the machine" rather than with the
machine itself . . . --Frank M. Turner, 1974. In his Between Science and
Religion; The Reaction to Scientific Naturalism in Late Victorian England (Yale University Press): 82.
. . . In the London Anthropological Society address of March 1864, Wallace continued to discuss, though in a
very different kind of forum, matters that had weighted upon his mind for over twenty years. He brought into the
professional scientific sphere the scientific concepts and goals that he had learned in the provincial mechanics
institutes. The address was his single most important comment on man and contained the latent seeds for all his later
departures from scientific naturalism. The American evolutionist John Fiske recalled that the address "seemed to
open up an entirely new world of speculation." Such speculation was indeed new to men who had known little or
nothing of "physical puritanism" or the "belated rationalism" of the working-class culture in which Wallace had
come to maturity. For Wallace the paper was simply a continuation of his earlier thought . . . --Frank M. Turner,
1974. In his Between Science and Religion; The Reaction to Scientific Naturalism in Late Victorian England (Yale
University Press): 83-84.
. . . Spiritualism furnished Wallace with a scientific explanation for the development of man's moral nature and
brought man's total being under the rule of rational cosmic law. In a curious manner, the theory of spiritualism
provided a law for the moral world analogous to that provided by natural selection for the organic world. Natural
selection removed the necessity for an arbitrary and interfering God of Special Creation. Spiritualism banished the
arbitrary God of predestination and replaced Him with a uniform law of individual moral progress and of personal
moral responsibility. . . --Frank M. Turner, 1974. In his Between Science and Religion; The Reaction to Scientific
Naturalism in Late Victorian England (Yale University Press): 88.
. . . "Consistency," the tract by Robert Dale Owen, Robert Owen's son, particularly interested Wallace. The
younger Owen, who himself also later converted to spiritualism, argued that the doctrine of predestination led to
immoral living because it rendered one's eternal reward a matter of chance rather than a function of the virtue of
one's life. Concurring in these arguments, Wallace moved very quietly and painlessly from faith to skepticism. His
loss of faith grew directly out of a situation succinctly described by a writer later in the century: "God, and
immortality, and the Bible have been so taught as to make scepticism the only refuge for morality to flee to."
Wallace later identified this rational skepticism with agnosticism. His skepticism, however, more nearly resembled
deism. He did not deny the possibility of religious knowledge or of pure religion but rather the validity and morality
of the Christian religion. Most important, Wallace and the Owenites did not dismiss the moral significance of the
questions that Christianity had addressed. The questions of religion remained valid even if the Christian answers
were false. The Owenite criticism of Christianity made Wallace, as well as genuine Owenites, highly susceptible to
a rational religion, such as spiritualism, that was based on empirical evidence and that emphasized social
cooperation and benevolent individualism . . . --Frank M. Turner, 1974. In his Between Science and Religion; The
Reaction to Scientific Naturalism in Late Victorian England (Yale University Press): 89-90.
that man's first language was primarily gestural, carried on with hand and arm
signals rather than vocal sounds, has been supported by a distinguished line
of scholars: Condillac (1746), Tylor (1868, 1871), Morgan (1877), Wallace (1881,
1895), Romanes (1888), Wundt (1912), Paget (1944, 1963), and Johannesson (1949,
1950). The gestural theory seems to be the most attractive of the many glottogonic
hypotheses advanced so far, and receives support from recent studies of chimpanzees
and other primates, such as Gardner and Gardner (1969, 1971), Premack (1970a,
b, 1971), and Menzel (1971), as well as from other sources. The fact that this
evidence was unavailable to earlier proponents of the gestural theory explains
some of the weaknesses in its former formulations . . . --Gordon W. Hewes, February-April
1973. Current Anthropology 14(1-2): 5.
Russel Wallace was the co-founder of the theory of natural selection and one
of its most tenacious defenders. It is therefore of great interest that Wallace
emphatically opposed a demarcation between ethical and scientific ideas and
that he also resisted the breakdown of the common intellectual milieu with
his own unified world-view. He endeavoured to combine notions of value with
his scientific theory of evolution, particularly in relation to man. British
biologists in the first half of the nineteenth century characteristically analysed
their data in terms of the teleological framework of Natural Theology. Evolutionary
theory supposedly demolished this framework. Nevertheless, Wallace incorporated
a fundamental teleology into all his theories. He considered that he had thereby
reconciled the tensions of scientific and ethical demands in his contribution
to the evolutionary debate on man's place in nature . . . --Roger Smith, December
1972. British Journal for the History of Science 6(22): 177-178.
. . . Wallace traced the 'action
of some unknown higher law' in the evolution of man and also in the origin of
consciousness. As he commented, 'no physiologist or philosopher has yet ventured
to propound an intelligible theory of how sensation may possibly be a product
of organization; while many have declared the passage from matter to mind to
be inconceivable'. While other biologists tended to avoid this question, Wallace
believed in a spiritual purpose behind the phenomenon of consciousness. It was
not clear to him that conscious actions could have any biological utility if
they were merely parallel, or epiphenomenal, to automatic physiological actions.
In particular, he believed that it was not possible to assign utility to the
consciousness of volition if this consciousness was deceptive . . . --Roger
Smith, December 1972. British Journal for the History of Science 6(22):
the challenge was to develop the continuous process, the gradual extinction
and creation of species. The intermittent process was available in the fortuitous
nature of the circumstances favorable for the preservation of fossil remains.
Wallace on the other hand had for some years been attempting to validate the
hypothesis of gradual species transformation. Although he had been examining
the relationships between geographical distribution and affinity within affinity
groups (general, families), there is no evidence that he had given any thought
to the question of the origin of discontinuities within such groups until a
few months before he wrote the 1855 essay. During that brief period several
quite unexpected patterns of distribution and affinity came to his attention.
Soon thereafter grew the appreciation that extinction, interacting with species
transformation, could give rise to all known patterns of organic discontinuities
. . . --John L. Brooks, December 1972. Transactions of the Connecticut Academy
of Arts and Sciences 44: 26.
. . .
A contemporary reader of Wallace's "Attempts at a natural arrangement of birds",
should he be unaware of its date of publication, would probably find little
to criticize in its presentation of the role of extinction in the genesis of
observed patterns of diversity. So completely do we share Wallace's faith that
"all gaps between species, genera, or larger groups are the result of extinctions
of species during former epochs of the world's history" that this statement
seems nothing unusual. It is only when it is clearly understood that this statement
was published in 1856, three years before Darwin published the Origin of
Species, that we appreciate that this essay carries the proclamation of
a prophet's faith . . . --John L. Brooks, December 1972. Transactions of
the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences 44: 45.
"What think you of Wallace's paper in the Ann. N. Hist.? Good! Upon the whole! But how about such forms as
the Giraffe, which has typical representatives in the Siwalik tertiary deposits? Or the true Elk (= Moose)? Can we
suppose a lost series of gradations connecting these general with the Deer type, & ramifying off to them paulatim
[gradually]? Wallace has, I think, put the matter well; and according to his theory, the various domestic races of
animals have been fairly developed into species" [quotation from Edward Blyth letter to Darwin] . . . --Barbara G.
Beddall, Spring 1972. Journal of the History of Biology 5(1): 155.
in fact, proposed the first cybernetic model. Nowadays cybernetics deals with
much more complex systems of the general kind; and we know that when we talk
about the processes of civilization, or evaluate human behavior, human organization,
or any biological system, we are concerned with self-corrective systems. Basically
these systems are always conservative of something. As in the engine
with a governor, the fuel supply is changed to conserve--to keep constant--the
speed of the flywheel, so always in such systems changes occur to conserve the
truth of some descriptive statement, some component of the status quo.
Wallace saw the matter correctly, and natural selection acts primarily to keep
the species unvarying; but it may act at higher levels to keep constant that
complex variable which we call "survival." . . . --Gregory Bateson, 1972. In
his Steps to an Ecology of Mind (Chandler Publishing Company): 435.
The importance of larval dispersal was already recognized by Alfred Russel Wallace in his work on The
Geographical Distribution of Animals (1876). Wallace knew that the univalve and bivalve Mollusca have free-swimming larval stages and recognized that "they thus have a powerful means of dispersal, and are carried by tides
and currents so as ultimately to spread over every shore and shoal that offers conditions favorable for development."
. . . --Rudolf S. Scheltema, April 1971. Biological Bulletin 140: 285.
. . . Darwin (1859) and later evolutionists (especially Muller 1940, 1942) proposed that reproductive isolating
mechanisms develop as by-products of divergent evolution and are purely incidental features of adaptive
differentiation which confer no advantage to populations at the time they develop. Conversely, Wallace (1889),
Fisher (1930), and Dobzhansky (1941, 1951) contended that isolating mechanisms could arise from selection
against hybrids and hybridizers. Selection for reproductive isolation in areas of sympatry would reinforce previously
existing barriers and thereby reduce gametic wastage, hybridization, and disruptive gene flow. Grant (1966) has
suggested the term "Wallace effect" for this process . . . --Donald A. Levin, November-December 1970. The
American Naturalist 104(940): 571.
The basic answer to the question--"Why does man occupy this worldwide and universally dominant niche?"--also given by Wallace, is that by the use of his greatly superior mind, man has continually modified the environment
to meet his needs, so that "he would cease to be influenced by natural selection in his physical form and structure."
As Dobzhansky (1962, 1967) has pointed out, this statement is an exaggeration. Nevertheless, the general
conclusion of Wallace, that in early man the action of natural selection was largely transferred from the bodily
structure to the mind, is still valid . . . --George Ledyard Stebbins, March-April 1970. The American Naturalist 104(936): 112.
The next questioner said the lecturer had termed Mr. [Henry] George a poet. He then called attention to the fact
that Mr. George advocated nationalisation of the land as a remedy for poverty, and asked how it was that Mr. A.
Wallace, an able man, came to the same conclusion. Professor Marshall said that Mr. Wallace's proposal was much
more reasonable than that of Mr. George. He did not call Mr. George a poet because he said erroneous things. He
was a poet because he was poetic, and he was not a man of science because he said erroneous things [report on a
lecture by Alfred Marshall] . . . --Ronald H. Coase, April 1969. Journal of Law and Economics 12(1): 199.
. . . We next come to Mr. Wallace's plan. It proposed that the inherent value of the soil should become the
property of the State, but that the buildings and other improvements on it should remain private property. He would
give to the landowner an annuity equal to that part of the rent which corresponds to its present inherent value, for
his life and the life of any descendants born in his lifetime, or in failure of such, for the life of anyone nominated by
the landlord. He calls this full compensation, but of course it is only partial compensation; the State would
confiscate, independently of any rise in its inherent value, the reversion of this inherent value some years hence. If
we put the probable duration of the lives at forty years, this is equal to an immediate confiscation of 30 per cent of
the inherent value, if we take interest at 3 per cent, or a confiscation of 20 percent if we take interest at 4 per cent.
The question whether this is just or not must be looked at straight in the face [from the words of Alfred Marshall] . .
. --Ronald H. Coase, April 1969. Journal of Law and Economics 12(1): 206.
. . . The principle may be extended to the generalization that a proportionately small percentage of any fauna
will be fit as invaders, since any intervening barrier, however slight, will act as a kind of "filter" to at least some of
them. Simpson has developed and supplemented this argument, demonstrating that Wallace's interpretation was
essentially correct. The precise differences in approach between Darwin and Wallace need some additional study,
but it would seem that Darwin tended to concentrate on the effects of different dispersal mechanisms on patterns of
distribution, Wallace more on the influence of barriers in restricting faunas conceived of as units. Thus, Wallace
was more orientated toward historical explanation for classes of phenomena, Darwin toward reasoning from the
effects of the properties of individuals upon the overall pattern of distribution . . . --Michael T. Ghiselin, 1969. In
his The Triumph of the Darwinian Method (University of California Press): 41.
. . . Darwin and Wallace merit particular respect for having developed the theory
of natural selection through a process of "retroduction": that is, they were
aware of a phenomenon, and successfully sought out an explanation in superficially
unconnected processes. The method through which this insight was obtained would
seem to have been orderly and rational . . . --Michael T. Ghiselin, 1969. In
his The Triumph of the Darwinian Method (University of California Press):
In a modification of the quinarian system of William Sharpe Macleay, Swainson divided the earth into five
regions according to what he believed to be the five major races of mankind; animal groups were likewise divided
into fives. The divisions were mathematical, the reasons not only unknown but unknowable. But Wallace
questioned Swainson from the first, noting that "there appears not to be the slightest reason for believing a priori
that all groups of animals are divided into the same number of types of forms or divisions" . . . --Barbara G.
Beddall, September 1968. Journal of the History of Biology 1(2): 270.
. . .
Lamarck had interpreted them in his own light, believing them to be the result
of "the permanent disuse of an organ, arising from a change of habits, [which caused] a gradual shrinkage of ultimately the disappearance and even
extinction of that organ." Wallace, like Chambers, thought that rudimentary
organs showed relationships, but he misinterpreted them, confusing vestigial
with nascent organs. He did, however, ask the right question: "If each species
has been created independently, and without any necessary relations with pre-existing
species, what do these rudiments, these apparent imperfections mean?" . . .
--Barbara G. Beddall, September 1968. Journal of the History of Biology 1(2): 280.
. . . The argument from design was teleological, presuming that a contrivance existed in accordance with a
preconceived plan. Adaptation between structure and function was recognized, but it was thought that a structure
was provided simply because a function required it. Wallace wondered, however, how an animal could have
necessities before it came into existence? And how could it "continue to exist unless its structure enabled it to
obtain food? He thought that the arguments brought forward as proofs of design were absurd; not only were they
insulting to the intelligence of a Supreme Being, but they also placed narrow limits on His power . . .Barbara G.
Beddall, September 1968. Journal of the History of Biology 1(2): 282.
. . . Looking back, it is interesting that Wallace, in 1880, thought that enough information was already at hand
to make further expeditions and collecting redundant. What was needed, he said, was intensive study of selected
islands, and since Britain owned most of the world's islands, the government should post naturalists on some of
them to make such studies. Wallace's suggestion was good, though naturally nothing came of it, but his major
premise was wrong. We still need to know a great deal more than we do about the species that make up island
biotas, not merely for the sake of naming and cataloguing them, but because knowledge of the identities,
relationships, distribution, behavior, and ecological roles and requirements of the species is essential for
understanding both the evolution of the island biotas and the evolution and functioning of the island ecosystems . . .
--Theodore H. Hubbell, May 1968. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 60(1): 22.
of a secondary and supplementary process of selection for reproductive isolation,
considered as an advantageous situation in its own right for the species concerned,
was advanced in the early period of evolutionary biology by Wallace (1889),
who tried unsuccessfully to convince Darwin. It seems fitting and desirable
to designate the process of selection for reproductive isolation as the
Wallace effect. The Wallace hypothesis was proposed again in the modern
period by Fisher (1930), Dobzhansky (1941; 1951), and Huxley (1943). The subject
has been reviewed recently by Mayr (1963) and Grant (1963). It is argued that
the individuals of two sympatric species populations which produce inviable
or sterile hybrids will contribute fewer offspring to future generations than
will sister individuals in the same parental populations which do not hybridize.
Consequently the genetic factors determining some block or aversion to hybridization
will tend to increase in frequency within each species over the course of generations.
This process of selection is expected to lead to a reinforcement of the reproductive
isolation which had developed as a by-product of divergence . . . --Verne Grant,
March-April 1966. American Naturalist 100(911): 99.
of animals living on islands may have morphological characteristics not possessed
by their mainland counterparts, a fact which was recognized by Wallace (1881).
He remarked that in the Celebes: "Nearly thirty species of butterflies, belonging
to three different families, have a common modification in the shape of their
wings by which they can be distinguished at a glance from their allies in any
other island or country whatever, and all these are larger than the representative
forms inhabiting most of the adjacent islands." . . . --P. R. Grant, September
1965. Evolution 19: 355.
was one of the first to suggest that birds might build their nests on the basis
of their previous experience. Although it now seems that nest building in birds
is not solely a function of memory, the extent to which experience plays a role
has not been determined . . . --Theodore D. Sargent, January 1965. The Auk 82(1): 48.
Wallace (1889), after summarizing the findings of Bates and Müller, proposed AN EXTENSION OF
MÜLLERIAN MIMICRY WHEREBY SEVERAL MEMBERS OF THE SAME UNPALATABLE GENUS
LOOK ALIKE IN THE SAME LOCALITY (e.g., 4 or 5 Heliconius having a yellow-banded forewing and radiating
red stripes on the hindwing.) This really is somewhat different from Müller's case of convergence of widely
unrelated species. Modern speciation theory predicts that closely related species when sympatric will diverge in
appearance, habits, and season due to rigorous selection for the two main speciation sequelae: anti-hybridization
mechanisms and niche diversification (anti-competition). Wallace's Müllerian extension explains an important
deviant. He also suggested the possibility of a still different sort of mimicry, in which A SCARCE EDIBLE
SPECIES CAN MINGLE WITH AND CLOSELY RESEMBLE AN ABUNDANT EDIBLE SPECIES AND THUS GAIN SOME FREEDOM FROM PREDATION . . . --Charles L. Remington, 1963. In Proceedings of the
XVI International Congress of Zoology (The Congress), Volume 4: 148.
The general patterns of the distribution of mollusks in the Pacific, particularly those of the terrestrial forms,
aroused attention because of the difficulties involved in transporting such forms to small and widely scattered
islands. Suggested dispersal agents have included land connections, drifting vegetation, typhoons and migratory
birds. The use of islands as stepping stones, including those now buried beneath the sea, was suggested by Wallace
in 1881. In Wallace's time there was little geological evidence to support the idea of submerged islands. As late as
1950 it was pointed out that complete proof for island distribution was "hopelessly buried in the geological past." . .
. --Harry S. Ladd, 1960. American Journal of Science 258-A: 140.
The occurrence of a number of river-like channels running across the group and dividing it into islands is
beyond doubt the most remarkable geomorphic phenomenon of the Aru Islands. Numerous branch channels are also
encountered. There are several theories concerning the genesis of these channels. Wallace (1857, 1869) tried to
explain them as the remainders of the Pleistocene lower courses of New Guinea rivers preserved here by subsequent
uparching of the Aru region, whereas elsewhere the river courses gradually disappeared during the transgression of
the shelf associated with the postglacial rise in sea level . . . --Herman Verstappen, Summer 1959. American Journal
of Science 257(7): 493.
The difficulty inherent in attempting to rid biology of normative concepts incapable of definition in purely
biological terms became even more evident when Darwin and others tried to find a substitute for the term natural
selection. Asa Gray and Alfred Russel Wallace objected to the expression because it seemed to imply an intelligent
agent selecting according to pre-established standards . . . --John C. Greene, 1959. In his The Death of Adam (Iowa
State University Press): 300.
Alfred Russel Wallace had lived for many years in tropical regions, first in the Amazon basin and later in the
East Indies, where he had been especially impressed by the phenomena of animal distribution. He thus had a
broader and more direct and intimate acquaintance with the subject than any other naturalist traveller of his century.
He was continually at work on this subject from 1860 until 1876, the date of publication of his two volumes on The
Geographical Distribution of Animals. He somewhat modestly refers to this work as an extension and amplification
of the two chapters on the subject in the Origin of Species, comparing it with Darwin's own two-volume expansion
of the chapters on animals and plants under domestication. The two principal sections of Wallace's work on
contrasted as "zoological geography," a descriptive discussion of the land animals of the different zoogeographic
regions, and "geographical zoology," a review of the distribution of vertebrates and certain invertebrates, group by
group. Whatever their fate in a reclassification of regions and subregions, Wallace's scheme and nomenclature are
the ones that appear most widely in zoological literature . . . --Karl Patterson Schmidt, December 1954. The
Quarterly Review of Biology 29(4): 323.
After Dr J. Rae, the most notable contribution to the Gesture Theory came from Charles Darwin's rival, Dr
Alfred Russel Wallace, who in 1895 pointed out, in Fortnightly Review, that, in English speech, it is common to
produce words by an appropriate gesture of the tongue, lips or jaw, so as 'to bring sense and sound into unison'.
Thus, in UP, the jaw makes an upward movement, while in DOWN, the jaw moves down. Continuing consonants,
such as F, L, M, N, etc., symbolize continuing motions, such as fly, run, swim, move. On the other hand, words for
abrupt motions end with a stopped consonant--e.g., B, D, G, K, P, T, in stop, hop, pat, stab, kick, etc. Dr Wallace
considered it in the highest degree probable that the pantomimic use of the various parts of the mouth constitute 'a
fundamental principle which has always been at work, both in the origin and in the successive modifications of
human speech'. Dr Wallace did not recognize Dickens' observation of hand and mouth as exemplified by Sam
Weller; but he was, I believe, the first to point out that the pantomimic principle may be still active in man's
unconscious development of his spoken language, and that modern languages may be just as gestural as the older
ones . . . --R. A. S. Paget, 1951. Science News (England) 20: 87.
"He [Conrad] loved old memoirs and travels--and
I think Wallace's Malay Archipelago was his favorite bedside book."
Again Mr. Curle wrote that Conrad read The Malay Archipelago "over
and over again . . . It was his favorite bedside companion. He had an intense
admiration for those pioneer explorers--'profoundly inspired men' as he called
them--who have left us a record of their work; and of Wallace, above all, he
never ceased to speak in terms of enthusiasm. Even in conversation he would
amplify some remark by observing, 'Wallace says so-and-so,' and The Malay
Archipelago had been his intimate friend for many years." [comments by
Richard Curle] . . . --Florence Clemens, July 1939. South Atlantic Quarterly 38: 305.
Though born and bred in England, no
snobbishness had ever touched him, he felt that the peasant's life, being richer
in experience, was more interesting than the lord's. Yet he was of the finest
courtesy, kindness and generosity; he loved to relieve any want or alleviate
any misery; he said once: "The sole value of riches is the joy of giving." I
knew him for more than a quarter of a century and can recall no fault in him--no
flaw even. His temper was as patient and quiet and fair as his mind, and his
health was almost perfect even in extreme age. In writing thus of him, I feel
as if I were ladling out treacle to my readers; but I can't help it; I can't
go outside the Truth. Looking back, I'm inclined to think he was the wisest
and best man I've ever known. Fortunately this word may be added, I've met dozens
of bad men who were incomparably more interesting . . . --Frank Harris, 1920.
In his Contemporary Portraits (Third Series) (published by
the author): 105.
. . .
The illustrious names of Myers, Sidgwick, Gurney, Wallace, Crookes, Zoellner
and many other prominent men, are associated with the rebirth and the rehabilitation
of the ancient belief in spirits. Even if the real nature of the observed facts
be disputed, even if the explorers may be accused of errors, and sometimes of
self-deception, there still belongs to them the immortal merit of having thrown
the whole of their authority on to the side of non-material facts, regardlesss
of public disapproval. They faced academic prejudices, and did not shrink from
the cheap derision of their contemporaries; even at a time when the intellect
of the educated classes was spellbound by the new dogma of materialism, they
drew public attention to phenomena of an irrational nature, contrary to accepted
convictions. These men typify the reaction of the human mind against the senseless
and desolating materialistic view . . . --Carl Jung, May 1920. Proceedings
of the Society for Psychical Research 31(79): 76.