Naturalists in Paradise: Wallace, Bates and Spruce in the Amazon.pdf
One hundred and fifty years ago, the young naturalists Alfred Wallace, Henry Walter Bates, and Richard Spruce were on a journey. Their destination, Amazonia the world s largest tropical forest with the greatest river system and richest ecosystem was then an almost-undiscovered environment to Western explorers and scientists. In Naturalists in Paradise, Amazon expert John Hemming weaves the riveting stories of these three men s experiences in the Amazon and assesses their valuable research that drastically changed our conception of the natural world. Each of the three naturalists is famous for a particular discovery: Wallace is credited, along with Charles Darwin, for developing the theory of evolution; Bates uncovered the phenomenon of protective mimicry among insects; and Spruce transported the quinine-bearing Cinchona tree to India, saving countless lives from malaria. Drawing on the letters and books of the three naturalists, Hemming reaches beyond the well-known narratives, offering unrivaled insight into the often lawless frontier life in South America as seen through the lives of the great pioneers of modern disciplines: anthropology, tribal linguistics, archaeology, and every branch of natural science."