In Wallace’s Footsteps by Robert Hall

Alfred Russel Wallace

Alfred Russel Wallace, O.M., L.L.D., D.C.L., F.R.S.

Alfred Russel Wallace was arguably the greatest tropical naturalist of the 19th century and a co-founder (with Charles Darwin) of the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection.

He was not a geologist but he certainly appreciated the role of geology in influencing the distributions of animals and plants. He was the first to recognise the division which today bears his name, the Wallace Line, which separates Australian and Asian faunas.

This area is the collision zone between Australia and South East Asia and has seen the most significant changes in the distribution of land and sea in the last few million years. 45 million years ago Australia began to move rapidly north. About 20 million years later it finally collided with Indonesia and the collision continues today leading to the creation of a fascinating landscape of high mountains and deep basins

Indonesian landscape

Indonesian landscape

Wallace travelled extensively in the Malay Archipelago with local guides using small boats. Despite the impact of the modern world many parts of the region are still much as Wallace saw them in the 19th century. In his lecture Robert Hall of Royal Holloway University of London will illustrate some of the places Wallace visited, outline the history of this geologically dynamic region, and offer some suggestions as to why it may act as a major control of the global climate and contain the most diverse biota on Earth.

This Geology Lecture takes place at 7.00pm on Wednesday 9th October 2013. Entry is free and the doors are open from 6.30pm. A donation of £3.00 is encouraged to cover costs.

For further information contact the Museum on 01305 262735 or check the website on

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