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Record number: WCP5107

Alfred Russel Wallace

Record created:
27 February 2013 by Catchpole, Caroline


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  • manuscript (1)

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Three pages of manuscript notes in Wallace's hand entitled "Science in 1907".

Handwritten by author in English.

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM WP7/99
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

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Science In 1907

I am not aware of any strikingly specially important development of science during the past year, though all the sciences have advanced by the usual amount of specialised study and research. As regards the science with which I am most interested -- that of Organic Evolution -- the last few years have seen a considerable advance towards the establishment of the original Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection on a more extended basis of observation and experiment than had previously been possible. The two chief workers in this line of research are, Mr, W. L. Tower of the University of Chicago, and Professor E. B. Poulton of the Hope Museum, Oxford. The former, after five years continuous experiment and observation on a very large scale and over a wide area of country, published, in 1906, a large volume on Evolution In Chrysomelid Beetles of the Genus Leptinotarsa, in which he has demonstrated the action of natural selection as the great agent in the formation of new species. This is established [[2]] both by experiment and by the observation a close study of the living insects over a under varying climatic and environmental conditions.

Professor Poulton’s work has been in the systematic study for a much longer period of the whole range of the phenomena of Protective resemblance and Mimicry, in every part of the world. He has brought together in the Hope Museum the first extensive and systematic collections so arranged as to illustrate the phenomena of Mimicry, which are now shown proved to be far more widespread and important than had formerly been suspected, and to be absolutely inexplicable on any other theory than that of continuous variation, and elimination of the less fit through the struggle for existence.

Both these great investigators agree in rejecting, as being wholly opposed to the facts of nature, the three alternative theories -- Neo-Lamarckism, Mutation, and Mendelism. The first of these has now few supporters, and is absolutely condemned by Mr. [[3]] Tower. The upholders of the other two theories have, for the last few years, been very loud in their claims, but are shown by Prof[essor] Poulton ( in a work (now in the press) entitled "Essays on Evolution", to be altogether beside the question inoperative in natural the production of new species. In this he is supported by most many eminent students of Evolution in all parts of the World. My own opinion is that the extravagantgant claims made by the Mutationists and Mendelions for what is a are merely side-issues of in the great problem of heredity, are are entirely without foundation and, to those who are well acquainted with the works of Darwin and the facts of nature, are little less than ridiculous.

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