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  The Malay Archipelago

Alfred R. Wallace

A work of astounding scope and originality that provides some of the first evidence of the modern theory of evolution. Wallace, a contemporary of Charles Darwin, spent nearly a decade cataloging the plant and animal species which inhabited the unique geographical area of the Malay Archipelago, and remains to this day one of the most extensive works of natural history ever written.

The book went through fifteen editions during his own life alone, and has been translated into every major language (and a number of minor ones). It is clearly one of the greatest scientific travel books ever written, both for its well-constructed survey description of the region in question, and for its scientific value to the professional naturalist.

Wallace spent eight years in Indonesia as a natural history collector; during this period he collected an incredible 125,000 specimens, carried out the first important field studies on the orangutan and paradise birds, clarified the ethnology of the region, discovered the faunal discontinuity known now as 'Wallace's Line,' was one of the first Europeans to take up residence for an extended period on the island of New Guinea, founded the modern approach to biogeographical analysis, and last but not least arrived upon the theory of natural selection.

Today's casual reader will be troubled a little here and there by lists of Latin names of plants and animals, but this is a minor distraction from the telling of one of history's greatest feats of natural history investigation.

Buy Volume 1
Buy Volume 2 also available as an Ebook (Adobe Reader).

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