Download Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection: A Series by Alfred Russel Wallace PDF

Download Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection: A Series by Alfred Russel Wallace PDF

By Alfred Russel Wallace

Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) is thought of as the co-discoverer with Darwin of the speculation of evolution. It was once an essay which Wallace despatched in 1858 to Darwin (to whom he had devoted his most famed ebook, The Malay Archipelago) which impelled Darwin to submit an editorial on his personal long-pondered thought concurrently with that of Wallace. As a vacationing naturalist and collector within the a ways East and South the US, Wallace already vulnerable in the direction of the Lamarckian idea of transmutation of species, and his personal researches confident him of the truth of evolution. at the ebook of at the starting place of Species, Wallace turned considered one of its so much popular advocates. This moment, corrected, variation (1871) of a sequence of essays released in booklet shape in 1870, indicates the improvement of his puzzling over evolution, and emphasises his admiration for, and help of, Darwin's paintings.

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Additional info for Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection: A Series of Essays

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An antelope with shorter or weaker legs must necessarily suffer more from the attacks of the feline carnivora; the passenger pigeon with less powerful wings would sooner or later be affected in its powers of procuring a regular supply of food; and in both cases the result must necessarily be a diminution of the population of the modified species. If, on the other hand, any species should produce a variety having slightly increased powers of preserving existence, that variety must inevitably in time acquire a superiority in numbers.

The Law of Population of Species. The general proportion that must obtain between certain groups of animals is readily seen. Laro-e animals cannot be so abundant as small ones; the carnivora must be less numerous than the herbivora; eagles and lions can never be so plentiful as pigeons and antelopes; and the wild asses of the Tartarian deserts cannot equal in numbers the horses of the more luxuriant prairies and pampas of America. The INDEFINITELY FE03I THE ORIGINAL TYPE. 29* greater or less fecundity of an animal is often considered to be one of the chief causes of its abundance or scarcity; but a consideration of the facts will show us that it really has little or nothing to do with the matter.

To every thoughtful naturalist the question must arise, What are these for ? What have they to do with the great laws of creation ? 24 ON THE LAW WHICH HAS REGULATED Do they not teach, us something of the system 01 Nature? If each species has been created independently, and without any necessary relations with pre-existing species, what do these rudiments, these apparent imperfections mean? There must be a cause for them; they must be the necessary results of some great natural law. Now, if, as it has been endeavoured to be shown, the great law which has regulated the peopling of the earth with animal and vegetable life is, that every change shall be gradual; that no new creature shall be formed widely differing from anything before existing; that in this, as in everything else in Nature, there shall be gradation and harmony,—then these rudimentary organs are necessary, and are an essential part of the system of Nature.

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