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Thomas Blakiston's Line

A Victorian naturalist's early contribution to biogeography

"Blakiston's Line" is the boundary between a 'Siberian' flora and fauna north of Honshu and a 'Tropical' one to the south. It is an important biogeographic discontinuity in eastern Asia. Blakiston (1832-1891) determined his line on the basis of intense study and deep knowledge of Japan's birds and a lesser, but still impressive, knowledge or its other animals and its plants. Blakiston's contribution to biogeography developed from a rich background of influences, study and experience. In particular, they grew from his 'sensitisation to the strange' through his early experiences in North America and in the Crimea (where he produced the still influential "Birds of the Crimea"). They also rested on Blakiston's family background and intellecutal milieu and on his wide range of influential correspondents and acquaintances including Japanese ornithologists. Andrew's presentation will cover this background, Blakiston's possible interactions with Sclater and Wallace, the biogeographical differences he identified in Japan and the status of Blakiston's Line today.


Andrew Davis | talks


Date and Time:

18 February 2010 at 6:00 pm


2 hours 30 minutes



The Linnean Society of London
Burlington House
50 Piccadilly
0207 434 4479

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Additional Information:

Tea will be served in the Library from 5.30pm and the lecture will be followed by a wine reception.

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