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Hand-drawn chart showing variation in birds

Hand-drawn chart showing variation in birds

Catalogue number: WP6/5/5(10)

Manuscript chart drawn by Wallace, showing variation in the Baltimore oriole bird, for his book on Darwinism, undated, probably 1888.

This chart, hand-drawn by Wallace, illustrates variation in measurements of the bird Icterus baltimore (Baltimore oriole). Wallace lists the features of 20 male birds giving body, wing, tail, tarsus, mid toe, outer toe and inner toe measurements in inches. This chart is immaculately drawn and includes annotations written by Wallace to the engraver: 'The vertical lines, and one hor.[izontal] lines below word "Body" - faint. The bent lines...black.'

Wallace planned to use this chart in chapter three 'The Variability of Species in a State of Nature', of his book Darwinism: An Exposition of the Theory of Natural Selection with Some of its Applications. However, this was one of the diagrams that didn't make it into the book - Wallace wrote on the top of the sheet 'not wanted'.

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Wallace Letters Online

Letter to Alfred Russel Wallace from the Royal Society, about his Darwin Medal award

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