Artefact of the month - March 2013 Biogeographical books of Alfred Russel Wallace
We are celebrating several events this month World Book Day 7 March 2013 , National Science and Engineering Week 15-24 March 2013 and we begin our centenary celebrations for Alfred Russel Wallace who died in 1913. We are featuring two of Wallace's seminal books on biogeography which changed our views of the world :
The geographical distribution of animals : with a study of the relations of living and extinct faunas as elucidating the past changes of the earth's surface / by Alfred Russell Wallace. London : Macmillan, 1876
Island life : or the phenomena and causes of insular faunas and floras, including a revision and attempted solution of the problem of geological climates / by Alfred Russel Wallace. - 2nd & rev. ed. London : Macmillan, 1892
The geographical distribution of animals is described by Martin Fichman in his book about Wallace as his `technical magnum opus and stands as one of the masterpieces of Victorian biology'. In this book Wallace undertook a comprehensive analysis of the global distribution of animals using evolutionary theory, climatic details, distribution and migration data. Together with Island life he formed a unified theory of animal distribution which he explained in these two books. This theory acted as the basis of biogeographical studies for almost a further 100 years until the general acceptance of continental drift in the 1970s.
Other `Artefacts' featuring Wallace include Artefact of the month - July 2008 On the tendency of species to form varieties; and on the perpetuation of varieties and species by means of natural selection by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace [read 1 July 1858], published in Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society, Vol. 3, pp. 45-62 and Artefact of the month - June 2007 The naturalist on the river Amazons, a record of the adventures, habits of animals, sketches of Brazilian and Indian life, and aspects of nature under the equator, during eleven years of travel / by Henry Walter Bates. In two volumes. London : John Murray, 1863
Information about the Wallace collection online and Wallace 100 celebrations can be found at Wallace Collection
Use our online catalogue to find more detailed information about specific items in our holdings. It also contains links to relevant online resources: