Alfred Russel Wallace: Letters and Reminiscences, Vol. 2

Alfred Russel Wallace: Letters and Reminiscences, Vol. 2

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Alfred Russel Wallace: Letters and Reminiscences, Vol. 2 by Sir Marchant James, Alfred Russel Wallace

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331

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Alfred Russel Wallace: Letters and Reminiscences, Vol. 2

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that as the present distribution of animals is necessarily due to their past distribution, the greatest importance must be given to those groups whose fossil remains in the more recent strata are the most abundant and the best known. These considerations led me to limit my work in its detailed systematic groundwork, and study of the principles and law of distribution, to the mammalia and birds, and to apply the principles thus arrived at to an explanation of the distribution of other groups, such as reptiles, fresh-water fishes, land and fresh-water shells, and the best-known insect Orders.

There remained another fundamental point to consider. Geographical distribution in its practical applications and interest, both to students and to the general reader, consists of two distinct divisions, or rather, perhaps, may be looked at from two points of view. In the first of these we divide the earth into regions and sub-regions, study the causes which have led to the difference in their animal productions, give

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