On islands that inspired theory of evolution, deforestation cuts uneven path

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Biologists often refer to the Wallacea region of Indonesia as a “living laboratory” for the study of evolution. Spanning 1,680 of Indonesia’s central islands, including the Malukus, Nusa Tenggara and the expansive arms of Sulawesi, it is the transition zone where the biota of Asia and Australasia collide. Isolated for tens of millions of years from neighboring landmasses, a unique assemblage of weird and wonderful species have evolved; and it was here that its namesake, Alfred Russel Wallace, developed his theory of natural selection during the 19 century, around the same time that Charles Dar…

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