This is the famous “Ternate essay” introducing natural selection that Wallace sent to Charles Darwin in early 1858. This paper, along with excerpts from two unpublished writings by Darwin, was read before a special meeting of the Linnean Society of London on 1 July 1858, and published on pages 53-62 of Volume 3 of that Society’s Proceedings series. Though neither Wallace nor Darwin was in attendance at the presentation, it should thus be noted that, frequently seen comments to the contrary notwithstanding, Wallace did not “publish a paper describing natural selection before Darwin did”—in fact, there is conclusive historical evidence that even Wallace’s own paper had not been intended for publication in the form in which it was sent to Darwin. Original pagination below indicated within double brackets—and note that this transcription is taken from the original 1858 work, not the slightly altered version that was included in the collection Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection in 1870. See more information on Wallace at The Alfred Russel Wallace Page,
Copyright 2009 by Charles H. Smith. All rights reserved. This transcription, in whole or in part, may not be reposted or otherwise reproduced for publication without the written consent of Charles H. Smith, Western Kentucky University.


Ecology and Evolutionary Biology | Evolution | Zoology