The Wallace-over-Darwin Groundswell
Posted by Richard Conniff on October 15, 2012
OK, I confess, I deliberately posed this picture to put Wallace on top. But, sad to say, there’s also an obvious forensic clue in the photograph indicating that Darwin came first. If you spot the clue, please say so in comments.
And if you are completely feckin’ baffled by what I am going on about, Alfred Russel Wallace was the co-discoverer of evolution by natural selection. But unlike Darwin, he had the balls to say it out loud. A letter from Wallace explaining his ideas in 1858 is what finally drove Darwin to publish the theory for which he had been gathering evidence over the previous 20 years. The question of whether Wallace or Darwin deserves credit for the biggest idea in the history of science remains hotly contested, though largely by people who admire them both. (You can read about it in my book The Species Seekers.)
Meanwhile, in other Wallace news, the world’s leading Wallace maven, George Beccaloni, recently updated his list of species named after the great field naturalist. He writes:
So far I have found 81 species, but it is likely that this is just the tip of the iceberg! It would be great if Wallace had more species named after him than Darwin has!! Darwin has about 120.
You can check out Beccaloni’s list here. Wallace’s resplendent jewel beetle is all very nice, but my
possible favorite is Diatelium wallacei (Wallace’s long-necked shining fungus beetle).
If you have any additions to this list, please–in the spirit of oneupmanship–post them here first, in comments. I’ll pass them along to Beccaloni.
This entry was posted on October 15, 2012 at 4:58 pm and is filed under Biodiversity, Social Status, The Species Seekers. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.