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Darwin's notes on Wallace's Island Life book

Darwin's notes on Wallace's Island Life book

Catalogue number: WP6/4/1

Manuscript notes by Charles Darwin with comments on Wallace's book Island Life, undated, probably 1880.

This is one of seven folios, written by Charles Darwin, making comments on Wallace's book Island Life.

Darwin refers to specific pages of Wallace's text, giving praise, opinion or suggestions for future editions, in a very polite and gentlemanly manner. For example, Darwin asks 'is it not rather rash to refer paucity of fossils to coldness of waters, seeing how wonderfully rich the bottom of [the] sea has just [been] found off the N. coast of Siberia, - not to mention the abyssal regions of the great oceans. May not paucity be due to the stirring up of the bottom by icebergs?'

Wallace made great contributions to the disciplines of biogeography and animal distribution. The book Island Life focused on speciation (the development of new species) in isolated populations (islands). Wallace was one of the first scientists to use geological events to explain certain aspects of distribution. In the preface to the book, Wallace says he wrote Island Life after four years' additional thought and research based on The Geographical Distribution of Animals.

Wallace and Darwin had a good professional relationship and corresponded regularly commenting on each other's work. 

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Wallace Letters Online

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

View high resolution scans and transcripts of Alfred Russel Wallace's correspondence, including all surviving letters between him and Charles Darwin.

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