Synchronous diversification of Sulawesi’s iconic artiodactyls driven by recent geological events

Laurent A. F. Frantz, Anna Rudzinski, Abang Mansyursyah Surya Nugraha, Allowen Evin, James Burton, Ardern Hulme-Beaman, Anna Linderholm, Ross Barnett, Rodrigo Vega, Evan K. Irving-Pease, James Haile, Richard Allen , Kristin Leus, Jill Shephard, Mia Hillyer, Sarah Gillemot, Jeroen van den Hurk, Sharron Ogle, Cristina Atofanei, Mark G. ThomasFriederike Johansson, Abdul Haris Mustari, John Williams, Kusdiantoro Mohamad, Chandramaya Siska Damayanti, Ita Djuwita Wiryadi, Dagmar Obbles, Stephano Mona, Hally Day , Muhammad Yasin , Stefan Meker, Jimmy A. McGuire, Ben J. Evans , Thomas von Rintelen, Simon Y. W. Ho, Jeremy B. Searle, Andrew Kitchener, Alastair Macdonald, Darren Shaw, Hall Robert, Peter Galbusera, Gregor Larson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The high degree of endemism on Sulawesi has previously been suggested to have vicariant origins, dating back 40 Myr ago. Recent studies, however, suggest that much of Sulawesi’s fauna assembled over the last 15 Myr. Here, we test the
hypothesis that more recent uplift of previously submerged portions of land on
Sulawesi promoted diversification, and that much of its faunal assemblage is
much younger than the island itself. To do so, we combined palaeogeographical
reconstructions with genetic and morphometric data sets derived from
Sulawesi’s three largest mammals: the Babirusa, Anoa, and Sulawesi warty pig.
Our results indicate that although these species most likely colonized the area
that is now Sulawesi at different times (14 Myr ago to 2-3 Myr ago), they
experienced an almost synchronous expansion from the central part of the
island. Geological reconstructions indicate that this area was above sea level for
most of the last 4 Myr, unlike most parts of the island. We conclude that
emergence of land on Sulawesi (~1–2 Myr) may have allowed species to expand
synchronously. Altogether, our results indicate that the establishment of the
highly endemic faunal assemblage on Sulawesi was driven by geological events
over the last few million years.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20172566
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences
Issue number1876
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2018


  • biogeography
  • evolution
  • geology
  • Wallacea

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