Alfred Russel Wallace (1823 – 1913) was a British naturalist, explorer, geographer, anthropologist, and biologist. He is best known for independently proposing a theory of natural selection which prompted Charles Darwin to publish on his own theory. Wallace did extensive fieldwork, first in the Amazon River basin and then in the Malay Archipelago, where he identified the Wallace Line that divides Indonesia into two distinct parts, one with animals more closely related to those of Australia and the other with animals more closely related to those found in Asia. He was considered the 19th century's leading expert on the geographical distribution of animal species and is sometimes called the "father of biogeography". Wallace was one of the leading evolutionary thinkers of the 19th century who made a number of other contributions to the development of evolutionary theory besides being co-discover of natural selection. These included the concept of warning colouration in animals, and the Wallace effect, a hypothesis on how natural selection could contribute to speciation by encouraging the development of barriers against hybridization.

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Today's selected anniversaries:


War of 1812: American forces led by General Andrew Jackson defeated the British army at the Battle of New Orleans near New Orleans, two weeks after the United States and Great Britain signed the Treaty of Ghent to end the war.


Statistician Herman Hollerith received a patent for his electric tabulating machine.


The oil tanker Betelgeuse exploded at the offshore jetty of the Whiddy Island Oil Terminal off Bantry Bay, Ireland, killing about 50 people.


British Midland Flight 92 crashed onto the embankment of the M1 motorway near Kegworth, Leicestershire, UK, killing 47 people and injuring 79 others.


RMS Queen Mary 2, at the time the longest, widest and tallest passenger ship ever built, was christened by her namesake's granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II.

Wiktionary's word of the day:

camber (n)     1. A slight convexity of the surface of a road, ship's deck, etc., so that liquids will flow off the sides.
                     2. The slope of a curved road, such that the outside is higher than the inside.

Wikiquote quote of the day:

If you cannot make knowledge your servant, make it your friend.   --Baltasar Gracián