Books  Regional Natural History  Asia-Pacific 

The Malay Archipelago

By: Alfred Russel Wallace

488 pages, B/w illus, maps

Periplus Editions

Paperback | Oct 2008 | #176742 | ISBN-13: 9780794605636
Temporarily out of stock: order now to get this when available Details
NHBS Price: £23.99 $29/€27 approx

About this book

Alfred Russel Wallace deserves equal billing with Charles Darwin for his independently drawn but parallel conclusions on the theory of evolution. Darwin himself called Wallace 'generous and noble' and referred favourably to his work in later editions of "The Origin of Species".

"The Malay Archipelago" is an extraordinarily accessible book. There is a wealth of detail about pre-modern life in the Indonesian archipelago which Wallace accumulated on over 60 separate journeys spanning some 14,000 miles. His basic thesis stands to this day: that two separate biological zones border these islands, separated by the deep-water channel now known as the Wallace Line, running between Bali and Lombok, which only a relative handful of species have crossed. The islands east of Bali in effect form a transitional zone where some of the world's strangest creatures are found.

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Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) was a British naturalist, explorer, geographer, anthropologist and biologist. He was born on 8 January 1823 in the small village of Usk, Monmouthshire. Shortly after finishing school, Wallace's father passed away and he joined his brother to do work surveying countries for four years. Through this, he acquired the talent for observation and detailed recordings. Alfred Russel Wallace is best known for his theory of natural selection. From 1854 to 1862 he explored the Amazon River with his mentor Henry Walter Bates. During this expedition, he saw differences between the animals in Asia and the animals in Australia. Out of this experience came his theory of natural selection. He wrote a manuscript called On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely from the Original Type. He sent it to Charles Darwin who decided to publish his theory right away. To this day, Wallace's greatest accomplishment was to get Charles Darwin to publish his own theory.

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