The letters between James Lamont and Charles Darwin on Arctic fauna

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Abstract

In the summers of 1858 and 1859, the Scot Sir James Lamont of Knockdow embarked on two cruises to Svalbard (referred to by Lamont as Spitzbergen [sic]) to hunt, make geographical surveys, and collect geological and biological specimens. Lamont's return from these voyages coincided with the publication of the joint Charles Darwin-Alfred Russel Wallace paper, 'On the tendency of species to form varieties; on the perpetuation of varieties and species by natural means of selection' by the Linnean Society in August 1858 and, a year later, the publication of Darwin's On the origin of species (Darwin 1958). Profoundly influenced by Darwin's ideas, Lamont initiated a correspondence with the naturalist, relating examples of what he considered to be natural selection, observed during his hunting expeditions. In his Svalbard travelogue, Seasons with the sea-horses (1861), Lamont expounded specifically upon walrus and polar bear evolution, ideas inspired by sporadic yet encouraging letters from the renowned naturalist.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)492-500
Number of pages9
JournalPolar Record
Volume51
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 4 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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