Event Detail


Alfred Wallace Bicentenary: From Evolution to “Wallace’s Line” to Biogeography

Dr Jason Ali
Wednesday, 29 Mar 2023
Hill Dickinson, 33B United Centre, 95 Queensway, Admiralty

Alfred Russel Wallace is famous for co-discovering, with Darwin, "Natural Selection", the process that underpins all biological evolution and species formation.  He is also celebrated for his seminal role in the development of Biogeography, the geography of the distribution of life on the planet.  To mark Wallace’s Bicentenary, Dr Jason Ali summarises Wallace’s direct and indirect contributions to the studies of the distribution of animals within the Indo-Australian Archipelago – including the famous “Wallace’s Line”, which bisects Asia. 

Dr Ali reviews more than 170 years of effort by Wallace and others to define boundaries or transition zones between the highly distinctive faunas of Asia, with apes and monkeys, tigers, elephants, rhinos etc, and Australasia with koalas, echidnas, kangaroos, platypuses, cassowaries etc.  
This fascinating story also contains several sub-plots that most people, including practically all of the modern-day academic researchers, are unaware of.  Dr Ali’s talk is garnished with amusing and delicious twists and anecdotes, including a near-fatal crocodile attack in New Guinea of the famed US biogeographer Prof Philip Darlington, and of his own experiences in the field.
Dr Jason Ali is a Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Hong Kong.   He was educated in the United Kingdom, first at Staffordshire University and later for a doctorate at Southampton University, where he studied geology and geophysics.  He is an expert on Structural Geology and Regional Tectonic Evolution.  His present research is focused on Paleobiogeography research and how land animals have colonised new frontiers, including the physical mechanisms that control the distribution of life around the planet, particularly those associated with land animals on marine islands.  Dr Ali has some 200 learned papers in print and has delivered hundreds of lectures worldwide, including at several seminal conferences. 

Members of the RGS, their guests and others are most welcome to attend this event, which is HK$200 for RGS Members and HK$250 for guests and others.

The Royal Geographical Society - Hong Kong wishes to express its thanks to
Hill Dickinson as the Venue Sponsor of this talk.


The opinions expressed in this talk are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of the Royal Geographical Society - Hong Kong.

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