Sunday, July 1, 2018

This Week in Science History: Theory of Evolution

On July 1, 1858, the Wallace-Darwin theory of evolution was presented to the Linnaean Society in London. Darwin started his theory in 1837, after his journey abroad on the HMS Beagle. His original intent to classify plants and animals turned into a desire to explain how variation came to be. Years later, Darwin received a letter from an English naturalist known as Alfred Russel Wallace. The letter detailed a theory similar to Darwin’s own. After sending Wallace’s paper to Scottish geologist Charles Lyell and English botanist Joseph Hooker (both who had already read Darwin’s paper) a joint paper reading was arranged at a meeting of the Linnaean Society of London. An excerpt from Darwin's unpublished draft was read (part of a chapter titled "On the Variation of Organic Beings in a State of Nature; on the Natural Means of Selection; on the Comparison of Domestic Races and True Species") as well as Wallace's manuscript "On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely From the Original Type." The paper was accepted for publication in the society's Proceedings later that year.

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