Naturalists in Paradise -Monday, March 16, 2015
When they arrived at the mouth of the Amazon River in the late 1840s, Russel Wallace, Henry Walter Bates and Richard Spruce were not experts in science. They had little experience outside of their provincial English towns, only basic education and all three were of humble means (they planned to support their adventures through the sale of specimens). Wallace and Bates were in their 20s and Spruce only 32, yet these three adventurers were destined to become famous naturalists. Their discoveries in the Amazon, where they would spend the prime of their lives, would have an influence that outlasted even their highest hopes as they began their journeys in, as Wallace put it, “a fever-heat of expectation.