A reprint of a classical work in the Cambridge Library Collection.
First published in 1880, this study of the biology and geography of islands investigates some of the most pressing questions of nineteenth-century natural science. Why do countries as far-flung as Britain and Japan share similar flora and fauna when those of neighbouring islands in Malaysia are utterly unalike? What is the origin of life in New Zealand? And why do the geological formations of Scotland and Wales appear to be the result of glaciers when those countries lie in the temperate zone? Dismissing popular theories of submerged continents and 'special creation', Alfred Russel Wallace (1823–1913) presents extensive evidence of the mass migration of species, and of drastic and repeated climatic changes across the globe. Drawing on a vast range of sources and the newest ocean soundings to support his theories, Wallace wrote the text for the intelligent general reader. It remains a fascinating introduction to the subject matter today.
Part I. The Dispersal of Organisms
2. The elementary facts of distribution
3. Classification of the facts of distribution
4. Evolution as the key to distribution
5. The powers of dispersal of animals and plants
6. Geographical and geological changes
7. Changes of climate which have influenced the dispersal of organisms
8. The causes of glacial epochs
9. Ancient glacial epochs, and mild climates in the Arctic regions
10. The earth's age, and the rate of development of animals and plants
Part II. Insular Faunas and Floras
11. The classification of islands
12. Oceanic islands
13. The Galapagos Islands
14. St Helena
15. The Sandwich Islands
16. Continental islands of recent origin
17. Borneo and Java
18. Japan and Formosa
19. Ancient continental islands
20. Anomalous islands: Celebes
21. Anomalous islands: New Zealand
22. The flora of New Zealand
23. On the Arctic element in south temperate floras
24. Summary and conclusion
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