When it comes to the theory of evolution, one name that almost always comes to mind is Charles Darwin. However, did you know that there was another scientist who developed a theory of evolution almost identical to Darwin’s? That scientist was Alfred Russel Wallace.

Who was Alfred Russel Wallace?

Alfred Russel Wallace was a British naturalist who lived from 1823 to 1913. He is best known for independently developing a theory of evolution through natural selection around the same time as Charles Darwin. Wallace went on several expeditions to collect specimens throughout the Amazon and Southeast Asia, which gave him an in-depth understanding of the diversity of species in these regions.

What was his theory of evolution?

Wallace’s theory of evolution was almost identical to Darwin’s. Both Darwin and Wallace believed that species evolved over time through a process called natural selection. This process occurs when certain traits become more or less common in a population over generations as a result of their influence on survival and reproduction.

The Difference

The main difference between their two theories lies in their respective views on human intervention. While Darwin believed that humans could intervene and affect natural selection, Wallace felt that this would only lead to negative consequences.

How did they come up with their theories?

Darwin began developing his theory of evolution after studying finches on the Galapagos Islands during his five-year voyage aboard the HMS Beagle. He published his findings in “On the Origin of Species” in 1859.

On the other hand, Wallace developed his theory while studying animals and plants in Southeast Asia. He wrote an essay outlining his ideas and sent it to Darwin for review in 1858. This essay prompted Darwin to finally publish “On the Origin of Species.”

What is their legacy?

Although Darwin is often credited with being the father of evolution, Wallace’s contribution to the field cannot be ignored. In fact, their joint contributions are often referred to as the Darwin-Wallace theory of evolution. Wallace’s work also helped establish biogeography as a field of study.


In conclusion, while Darwin is undoubtedly one of the most well-known scientists in history, it is important not to forget about Alfred Russel Wallace and his contribution to the theory of evolution. Both men developed similar theories through independent research and observation, forever changing our understanding of life on earth.