My fatal flaw as a scientist is 'finish', when I've solved the latest puzzle to my own satisfaction, I'm all jitzy to start on the next thing rather than writing everything up and submitting it to a journal so that the rest of the world can see what we've discovered . . . and possibly call "rubbish!" and do their own parallel experiments. Darwin's Big Idea was worked out in its essentials in his unpublished First Notebook on Transmutation of Species (1837) less that a year after returning from his round-the-world trip in HMS Beagle 27/Dec/1831-02/Oct/1836. It lay there festering/gestating/fermenting for more than 20 years until he was galvanised into writing it up formally and submitting it for peer-review. Where it would have been a shoo-in because Darwin was so well connected in the scientific world. The event which evoked the galvanic response and forced Darwin to expose his theory to the public was a letter from Alfred Russell Wallace. Who? What? Where?
surveyor and worked at a variety of jobs until at the age of 25 he shipped out to Brazil with his pal Henry Bates to see if they could make a fortune hunting exotic beetles and butterflies for sale to collectors and institutions back in England. From there, after adventures that today's youth only experiences on-line, He travelled to the Dutch East Indies to continue bug-hunting and paying deep attention to the natural world in all its tropical mind-jangling diversity.
numerous species are named after him: fungi, plants, lice, snails, dragonflies, loads of butterflies, dozens of beetles, at least 20 birds and three mammals: a marsupial Myoictis wallacei, a primate Tarsius wallacei, and Wallace's stripe-faced fruit bat Styloctenium wallacei. Today is Wallace's birthday (8th Jan 1823), so it's a nice place to stop his story at the height of his scientific success. Scientists subsequently saw fit to drum him out of the boy's club because he continued to be 'out there' with his ideas about things that all scientists now agree upon aka any fule kno.
More islands, including the one (Cocos)
where Darwin had another of his great ideas.
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