This Day in History: 1823-01-08

Alfred Russel Wallace was born on this day. A British naturalist, explorer, geographer, and anthropologist, also known for independently conceiving the concept of evolution through natural selection.

While returning from his Amazon basin expedition (1848 – 1852) his ship caught fire and sank with the loss of the nearly 450 specimens of fish he’d collected and his notes; were it not for this loss it’s likely he would also have made a major contribution to freshwater ichthyology.

He is honoured in the names of around 300 taxa, usually as wallacii or wallacei.