[Review of Natural History of the Azores or Western Islands, by Frederick D C Godman]
Alfred R Wallace
Geology, Naturalists, Darwinism, Natural History, Zoology, Botany, Taxonomy, Mapping, Meteorology, Entomology, Biogeography, Evolution, Monographs, Publishing
Explains that the peculiar position of the Azores in relation to Europe and America gives them 'especial interest for the naturalist since Mr. Darwin has shown how valuable is the evidence such islands afford for the derivative origin of species'. Indeed, what is 'most striking' about the Azores is 'the wonderful amount of similarity between the productions of these remote islands and those of Europe' and the enormous divergence of their animal and plant life from American species. Rather than supporting 'the theory of a former continental extension uniting these islands to Europe', the 'enormous preponderance of European species' can instead be explained by the fact that 'the Azores lie in a region of storms from all points of the compass; and that every year these storms bring numbers of birds from Europe, and no doubt also numbers of insects'. (266) The 'curious and difficult problem' posed by the existence of a 'considerable number of 'wingless beetles' on the islands which could not have been transported across the ocean is removed if we 'suppose that these wingless Atlantic groups are the descendants of very remote winged ancestors, who were among the earliest immigrants to all these islands; and these, being subjected to similar conditions, all became apterous' (266–67). Praises Frederick D C Godman for 'a book which should form a part of every naturalist's library', and commends the publisher for the 'useful innovation of issuing it with cut edges' (267).
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