The Butterfly Hunter: The Life of Henry Walter Bates

The Butterfly Hunter: The Life of Henry Walter Bates

Anthony Crawforth


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This is the epic, true and long overdue story of the young explorer who put forward the first ever case for the creation of a new species, providing what Charles Darwin called the "beautiful proof" for Natural Selection.The major discovery of Batesian Mimicry was developed from Bates's fascinating 11-year journey and study of butterflies in the Amazon rainforest. He noted how certain animals adopt the look of others to deceive predators and gain an advantage to survive.Little known to the public, Bates made other crucial contributions to biology: he collected over 14,000 specimens, of which over 8,000 were new to science at the time. He went on to become the administrator for the Royal Geographical Society and transformed it into an institution which combined exploration with academic research, and was responsible for placing geography on the school curriculum.This important book reassesses Bates's life and finally places both the man and his work in their rightful place alongside the other greats.