Quote of the Day - 28 November 2006

Nov 28 2006 Published by under Uncategorized

Today's quote comes from Alfred Russell Wallace's first paper on evolution - his 1855 paper On the Law Which Has Regulated the Introduction of Species. In addition to paving the way toward his later work on natural selection, this paper laid the foundation for an entire subdiscipline of biology: island biogeography.

Such phænomena as are exhibited by the Galapagos Islands, which contain little groups of plants and animals peculiar to themselves, but most nearly allied to those of South America, have not hitherto received any, even a conjectural explanation. The Galapagos are a volcanic group of high antiquity, and have probably never been more closely connected with the continent than they are at present. They must have been first peopled, like other newly-formed islands, by the action of winds and currents, and at a period sufficiently remote to have had the original species die out, and the modified prototypes only remain. In the same way we can account for the separate islands having each their peculiar species, either on the supposition that the same original emigration peopled the whole of the islands with the same species from which differently modified prototypes were created, or that the islands were successively peopled from each other, but that new species have been created in each on the plan of the pre-existing ones.

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