After 150 years, biologists are untangling the history of the Indonesian island’s unusual fauna
“We now come to the Island of Celebes, in many respects the most remarkable and interesting in the whole region, or perhaps on the globe, since no other island seems to present so many curious problems for solution.” (Wallace 1876)
Wedged in between the continental landmasses of south-east Asia and Australia lies the vast island realm of Wallacea. Named after Alfred Russel Wallace, the 19th-century explorer and naturalist who traversed this area, it hosts floras and faunas that are incredibly rich and often include species found nowhere else on Earth. The natural history of Wallacea is complicated, and heavily dictated by geological forces such as plate tectonics and volcanism.