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a similar shallow sea connected New Guinea and some of the adjacent islands to Australia, all being characterized by the presence of Marsupials.
We have here a clew to the most radical contrast in the Archipelago, and, by following it out in detail, I have arrived at the conclusion that we can draw a line among the islands, which shall so divide them that one-half shall truly belong to Asia, while the other shall no less certainly be allied to Australia. I term these respectively the Indo-Malayan, and the Austro-Malayan divisions of the Archipelago. (See Physical Map.)
On referring to pages 12, 13, and 36 of Mr. Earl's pamphlet, it will be seen that he maintains the former connection of Asia and Australia as an important part of his view, whereas I dwell mainly on their long continued separation. Notwithstanding this and other important differences between us, to him undoubtedly belongs the merit of first indicating the division of the Archipelago into an Australian and an Asiatic region, which it has been my good-fortune to establish by more detailed observations.
Contrasts in Natural Productions.--To understand the importance of this class of facts, and its bearing upon the former distribution of land and sea, it is necessary to consider the results arrived at by geologists and naturalists in other parts of the world.
It is now generally admitted that the present distribution of living things on the surface of the earth is mainly the result of the last series of changes that it has undergone. Geology teaches us that the surface of the land and the distribution of land and water is everywhere slowly changing. It further teaches us that the forms of life which inhabit that surface have, during every period of which we possess any record, been also slowly changing.
It is not now necessary to say any thing about how either of those changes took place; as to that, opinions may differ; but as to the fact that the changes themselves have occurred, from the earliest geological ages down to the present day, and are still going on, there is no difference of opinion. Every successive stratum of sedimentary rock, sand, or gravel is a proof that changes of level have taken place; and the dif
ferent species of animals and plants, whose remains are found in these deposits, prove that corresponding changes did occur in the organic world.
Taking, therefore, these two series of changes for granted, most of the present peculiarities and anomalies in the distribution of species may be directly traced to them. In our own islands, with a very few trifling exceptions, every quadruped, bird, reptile, insect, and plant is found also on the adjacent continent. In the small islands of Sardinia and Corsica there are some quadrupeds and insects, and many plants, quite peculiar. In Ceylon, more closely connected to India than Britain is to Europe, many animals and plants are different from those found in India, and peculiar to the island. In the Galapagos Islands almost every indigenous living thing is peculiar to them, though closely resembling other kinds found in the nearest parts of the American continent.
Most naturalists now admit that these facts can only be explained by the greater or less lapse of time since the islands were upraised from beneath the ocean, or were separated from the nearest land; and this will be generally (though not always) indicated by the depth of the intervening sea. The enormous thickness of many marine deposits through wide areas shows that subsidence has often continued (with intermitting periods of repose) during epochs of immense duration. The depth of sea produced by such subsidence will therefore generally be a measure of time; and in like manner the change which organic forms have undergone is a measure of time. When we make proper allowance for the continued introduction of new animals and plants from surrounding countries, by those natural means of dispersal which have been so well explained by Sir Charles Lyell and Mr. Darwin, it is remarkable how closely these two measures correspond. Britain is separated from the continent by a very shallow sea, and only in a very few cases have our animals or plants begun to show a difference from the corresponding Continental species. Corsica and Sardinia, divided from Italy by a much deeper sea, present a much greater difference in their organic forms. Cuba, separated from Yucatan by a wider and deeper strait, differs more markedly, so that most of its productions are of distinct and peculiar species; while Madagascar, divided from
Africa by a deep channel three hundred miles wide, possesses so many peculiar features as to indicate separation at a very remote antiquity, or even to render it doubtful whether the two countries have ever been absolutely united.
Returning now to the Malay Archipelago, we find that all the wide expanse of sea which divides Java, Sumatra, and Borneo from each other, and from Malacca and Siam, is so shallow that ships can anchor in any part of it, since it rarely exceeds forty fathoms in depth; and if we go as far as the line of a hundred fathoms, we shall include the Philippine Islands and Bali, east of Java. If, therefore, these islands have been separated from each other and the continent by subsidence of the intervening tracts of land, we should conclude that the separation has been comparatively recent, since the depth to which the land has subsided is so small. It is also to be remarked that the great chain of active volcanoes in Sumatra and Java furnishes us with a sufficient cause for such subsidence, since the enormous masses of matter they have thrown out would take away the foundations of the surrounding district; and this may be the true explanation of the oftennoticed fact that volcanoes and volcanic chains are always near the sea. The subsidence they produce around them will, in time, make a sea, if one does not already exist.
But it is when we examine the zoology of these countries that we find what we most require-evidence of a very striking character that these great islands must have once formed a part of the continent, and could only have been separated at a very recent geological epoch. The elephant and tapir of Sumatra and Borneo, the rhinoceros of Sumatra and the allied species of Java, the wild cattle of Borneo and the kind long supposed to be peculiar to Java, are now all known to inhabit some part or other of Southern Asia. None of these large animals could possibly have passed over the arms of the sea which now separate these countries, and their presence plainly indicates that a land communication must have existed since the origin of the species. Among the smaller mammals, a considerable portion are common to each island and the continent; but the vast physical changes that must have occurred during the breaking up and subsidence of such extensive regions have led to the extinction of some in one or more of the