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Darwin's Man in BrazilThe Evolving Science of Fritz Müller$
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David A. West

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813062600

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813062600.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Darwin's Man in Brazil

David A. West

University Press of Florida

The introduction orients the reader to Darwin’s Man in Brazil and announces some strong claims supported in subsequent chapters. Its key contention is that Fritz Müller (1822–1897 was Darwin’s closest intellectual kin and Darwin’s only correspondent to design tests of Darwin’s theory and some of its applications via field studies on a wide range of tropical plants, animals, and marine organisms. The book traces Müller’s family background, education, and early biological and intellectual commitments to clarify why he was particularly receptive to Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. It then examines how he developed new lines of field work in subtropical Brazil. In contrast with other field biologists and natural historians (e.g., Henry Walter Bates, Alphonse de Candolle, Ernst Haeckel, and Alfred Russel Wallace), Müller, in cooperation with Darwin by correspondence, organized many of his diverse field studies to develop, test, and support the theory of natural selection.

Keywords:   Fritz Müller, education, Charles Darwin, field studies, tests, natural selection, correspondence, subtropic, Brazil, Ernst Haeckel

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