The Publication

The coat-of-arms of The Linnean Society

Everyone associates the modern evolutionary theory with Charles Darwin and his 1859 published book On the Origin of Species, but the theory had in fact been published the previous year at a meeting at the Linnean Society in London – without Darwin knowing it. Someone else had come up with the same idea. The young naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace unintentionally beat Darwin to the punch. This made Darwin drop his plans of a multi-volume work on the species and instead focus on publishing his thoughts, so he would be credited as the first to come up with the theory. It was important to Darwin, however, that things were done properly. Wallace should not be forgotton.

Peter C. Kjærgaard