Plagiarism Case Evolves Against Darwin

Analysts spark furor by saying he stole theory of evolution
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2008 9:38 AM CST
Plagiarism Case Evolves Against Darwin
Circa 1894: Alfred Russel Wallace, Welsh naturalist and explorer who, independently of Darwin, propounded the theory of evolution by natural selection.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – As Darwin fans gear up for the 150th anniversary of On the Origin of Species, some analysts are calling the renowned naturalist a cheat, the Wall Street Journal reports. Alfred Russel Wallace is widely considered the co-founder of evolutionary theory, but some revisionists say Darwin cribbed the notion from Wallace. "There's a suspicion of plagiarism, and a more detailed examination will prove it," said one British lawyer.

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Wallace, who spent many years studying life in the Indonesian jungle, outlined his theory of evolution in an 1858 letter to Darwin, who rushed to publish Origin of Species soon after. Darwin's defenders say Wallace's theory mirrored one Darwin already had, and note that Wallace himself never complained. "Why was he apparently oblivious to what his defenders today seek to defend him from?" said one Darwin biographer.
(Read more Charles Darwin stories.)

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