Pop quiz time: Can you name the scientist who came up with the theory of evolution by natural selection?
If you answered Charles Darwin, you're right. But if you answered Alfred Russel Wallace, you're also right. Sort of. Wallace was a naturalist who had also studied how plants and animals adapt to their environments and had observed that only the fittest survived. While recovering from a bout with malaria in Southeast Asia, he sent a letter to Darwin outlining his theory—and Darwin ran with it.
In 1858, both Darwin and Wallace wrote papers on the subject, both of which were presented to The Linnean Society of London. One year later, Darwin got the jump on Wallace when he published On the Origin of Species ... and we ended up with Darwinism instead of Wallacism.
In this episode of The List Show, join Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy as she delves into the important contributions made by scientists whose names you might not know—but should. You can view the full episode below.
For more episodes like this one, be sure to subscribe here!