Sarawak Law paper

In 1855, naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace wrote a paper titled “On the Law which has Regulated the Introduction of New Species”, which is commonly referred to as the Sarawak Law paper. He wrote this paper while in the Sarawak region of Borneo and it was the first time that he publicly discussed evolution.

  • In this paper, Wallace posed the question of why species that are similar in appearance are often located near one another, both geographically and in the fossil record, and proposed a law to answer this question. This paper is considered to be a significant contribution to the field of evolutionary biology and biogeography.

The Sarawak Law

  • In the Sarawak Law paper, Wallace asked why species similar to each other in appearance are often located near one another, both geographically and in the fossil record. To answer this question, Wallace proposed the Sarawak Law: ‘Every species has come into existence coincident both in space and time with a pre-existing closely allied species.’
  • In other words, new species evolve from existing ones, rather than simply appearing where they are. This explains why similar species are found near one another in both space and time.

Biogeography

  • In this paper, Wallace also suggested that the distribution of animals and plants is related to gradual geological changes over time. This concept was named Biogeography.
  • He suggested that the formation of an island isolating two groups of a species from one other leads them to evolve into separate species. These ideas are part of a concept we now call biogeography. The Sarawak Law and Wallace’s ideas on biogeography are considered to be a precursor to the modern theory of evolution by natural selection.

The Significance of the Sarawak Law Paper

  • In 1858, two papers that would change people�s understanding of humanity�s place in the natural world were read before the Linnean Society of London. The papers were written by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace.
  • The paper from Wallace was his Sarawak Law paper. A year later, Charles Darwin would publish “The Origin of Species”, which is considered to be one of the most important works in the history of science.
  • The publication of this book has led to Darwin being credited as the father of evolution. However, Wallace’s Sarawak Law paper is considered to be a crucial contribution to the field of evolutionary biology and biogeography.

Comparison with Charles Darwin

  • Although Charles Darwin is known as the father of evolution, Wallace’s Sarawak Law paper should not be overshadowed. Both Wallace and Darwin arrived at the theory of natural selection independently, Wallace published his ideas 4 years before Darwin. Their work is considered a crucial element in understanding the mechanisms of evolution, and Wallace’s work is still widely studied and respected today.

The Sarawak Law paper, written by Alfred Russel Wallace in 1855, is considered to be a significant contribution to the field of evolutionary biology and biogeography. In this paper, Wallace proposed the Sarawak Law which states that new species evolve from existing ones, which helped to explain the geographical distribution of species. He also proposed the concept of Biogeography. Wallace’s ideas and discoveries are considered a crucial element in understanding the mechanisms of evolution, and his work is still widely studied and respected today.

 

 

Written by IAS POINT

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply