Guest post: Darwin and Wallace at Burlington House

Why Evolution Is True

In honor of Wallace Year, Greg Mayer is doing a series of posts on The Man Who Came Second. This essay gives Greg’s take on the rivalry between Darwin and Wallace about the discovery of natural selection, and how it was resolved.

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Darwin and Wallace at Burlington House

by Greg Mayer

The theory of evolution by natural selection, co-discovered by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace, was announced to the world at a meeting of the Linnean Society held at Burlington House in Piccadilly on July 1,1858. Neither Darwin, who was at Down House in Kent, nor Wallace, who was collecting in the Malay Archipelago, were present.

Seven weeks later, and 155 years ago today, the theory was published in the Society’s Journal—on 20 August 1858 (Darwin and Wallace, 1858).  Darwin provided a much fuller account of the theory the following year in On the Origin of Species (Darwin…

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