National Geographic : 2009 Apr
LETTERS The Stolen Past There’s just no way archae- ologists are ever going to get the opportunity to com- pletely examine every article at every site that exists. A sampling will be the best that they can get. West Bank inhabitants have been cut off from earning a living, so either lift the travel bans and develop the economic infrastructure, or train leading citizens in each village in the basics of archaeology. They can put the people to work digging, with the under- standing that pictures must document the location of each ﬁnd and each artifact. In return, they can get an authorization number and may sell what they ﬁnd—with some exceptions, of course. In this way there is some control over the digging, the antiquities market is happy, and there is documentation for experts who arrive later. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than turning a precious site into a rabbit warren. J. MCFARLAND Stanﬁeld, Oregon The Man Who Wasn’t Darwin I’m weary of hearing about Alfred Russel Wallace, the man who was cheated out of his place in history alongside Charles Darwin. Mostly I weary of the myth that Darwin espoused one theory. He had two—natural selection and sexual selection. He knew full well that he had amassed enough evidence for his ﬁrst theory well before Wallace happened on the scene. But it was the theory of sexual selection that really fascinated him. Despite ample opportunity to observe this force at work in the jungles of Borneo, Wallace disagreed with Darwin on this powerful theory, and for this he shall be forever relegated to the lower pedestal of history. Darwin’s second theory was the one most unpalatable to Victorian society (which worried him sick) and to our conservative education system today. Darwin alone shouldered the abuse. JAMES K. FINLEY Sidney, British Columbia Now that’s a photo [page 107] that truly expresses the nature of an animal! A life of working with animals in two of the YOUR SUNDAY FOR KILAUEA MOUNTAIN OF FIRE MARCH 29 8PMET/PT pbs.org/nature Funding provided by MEET A FIERY GIANT WHO CONSUMES AS SHE CREATES.