The forgotten evolutionist





SANTUBONG, Malaysia – As he trudges past chest-high ferns and butterflies the size of saucers, George Beccaloni scours a jungle hilltop overlooking the South China Sea for signs of a long-forgotten Victorian-era scientist.

He finds what he's looking for: an abandoned, two-story guest house, its doors missing and ceiling caved in.

"Excellent. This is the actual spot," he yells.

It is on this site, in a long-gone thatched hut, that Alfred Russel Wallace is believed to have spent weeks in 1855 writing a seminal paper on the theory of evolution. Yet he is largely unknown outside scientific circles today, overshadowed by Charles Darwin, whom most people credit as the father of a theory that explains the origins of life through how plants and animals evolve.

Now, in the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth, a growing number of academics and amateur historians are rediscovering Wallace. Their efforts are raising debate over exactly what Wallace contributed to the theory of evolution, and what role, if any, the spiritual world plays in certain aspects of natural selection.



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Randll Reese Besch - 7/1/2009

Recognize him, Wallace for all he has contributed to the knowledge of biology and evolution.

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