Island Life: Or, The Phenomena and Causes of Insular Faunas and Floras, Including a Revision and Attempted Solution of the Problem of Geological Climates

Overview

First published in 1880, this study of the biology and geography of islands investigates some of the most pressing questions of nineteenth-century natural science. Why do countries as far-flung as Britain and Japan share similar flora and fauna when those of neighbouring islands in Malaysia are utterly unalike? What is the origin of life in New Zealand? And why do the geological formations of Scotland and Wales appear to be the result of glaciers when those countries lie in the temperate zone? Dismissing popular ...

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Island Life: Or, the Phenomena and Causes of Insular Faunas and Floras, Including a Revision and Attempted Solution of the Problem of Geological Climates

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Overview

First published in 1880, this study of the biology and geography of islands investigates some of the most pressing questions of nineteenth-century natural science. Why do countries as far-flung as Britain and Japan share similar flora and fauna when those of neighbouring islands in Malaysia are utterly unalike? What is the origin of life in New Zealand? And why do the geological formations of Scotland and Wales appear to be the result of glaciers when those countries lie in the temperate zone? Dismissing popular theories of submerged continents and 'special creation', Alfred Russel Wallace (1823–1913) presents extensive evidence of the mass migration of species, and of drastic and repeated climatic changes across the globe. Drawing on a vast range of sources and the newest ocean soundings to support his theories, Wallace wrote the text for the intelligent general reader. It remains a fascinating introduction to the subject matter today.

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Table of Contents

Preface; Part I. The Dispersal of Organisms: 1. Introductory; 2. The elementary facts of distribution; 3. Classification of the facts of distribution; 4. Evolution as the key to distribution; 5. The powers of dispersal of animals and plants; 6. Geographical and geological changes; 7. Changes of climate which have influenced the dispersal of organisms; 8. The causes of glacial epochs; 9. Ancient glacial epochs, and mild climates in the Arctic regions; 10. The earth's age, and the rate of development of animals and plants; Part II. Insular Faunas and Floras: 11. The classification of islands; 12. Oceanic islands; 13. The Galapagos Islands; 14. St Helena; 15. The Sandwich Islands; 16. Continental islands of recent origin; 17. Borneo and Java; 18. Japan and Formosa; 19. Ancient continental islands; 20. Anomalous islands: Celebes; 21. Anomalous islands: New Zealand; 22. The flora of New Zealand; 23. On the Arctic element in south temperate floras; 24. Summary and conclusion; Index.

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