Author Topic: Indonesia, Birds, and Wallace's Line  (Read 9397 times)

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Offline <k>

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Indonesia, Birds, and Wallace's Line
« on: January 06, 2012, 04:51:56 PM »
Collectors of Indonesian circulation coins will know that bird designs feature on several of them. The first Indonesian circulation coins depicting birds were issued in 1970, while the last to do so was first issued in 2003. The most recent Indonesian circulation coin, the 1000 rupiah issued in 2010, features an anklung, an Indonesian musical instrument, so it is possible that in future Indonesia will concentrate on other themes and no longer feature birds.

Offline <k>

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Re: Indonesia, Birds, and Wallace's Line
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2012, 04:52:08 PM »
The territory of Indonesia straddles two continents: Asia and Australasia. Continents can be defined in various ways: Europe, for instance, is really a cultural construct, because it is actually part of the Eurasian land mass. However, in terms of wildlife, the continents of Asia (or Eurasia) and Australasia are divided by Wallace's Line.

Wallace's Line is named after Alfred Russel Wallace, a British naturalist and biologist, who was born in 1823 and died in 1913. According to Wikipedia, "Wallace is best known for independently proposing a theory of evolution due to natural selection that prompted Charles Darwin to publish his own theory."  Darwin (born 1809, died 1882) was the older man and had started collecting evidence to support his theory some years before Wallace, but Wallace is remembered as a distinguished researcher and scientist in his own right.

According to Wikipedia, "Wallace did extensive fieldwork, first in the Amazon River basin and then in the Malay Archipelago, where he identified the Wallace Line that divides the Indonesian archipelago into two distinct parts, one in which animals closely related to those of Australia are common, and one in which the species are largely of Asian origin. He was considered the 19th century's leading expert on the geographical distribution of animal species and is sometimes called the 'father of biogeography'."

From Wikipedia:

"The Wallace Line (or Wallace's Line) separates the ecozones of Asia and Wallacea, a transitional zone between Asia and Australia. West of the line are found organisms related to Asiatic species; to the east, a mixture of species of Asian and Australian origin is present. The line is named after Alfred Russel Wallace, who noticed this clear division during his travels through the East Indies in the 19th century. The line runs through Indonesia, between Borneo and Sulawesi (Celebes), and through the Lombok Strait between Bali and Lombok.

"The distance between Bali and Lombok is small, about 35 kilometers. The distributions of many bird species observe the line, since many birds do not cross even the smallest stretches of open ocean water. An understanding of the biogeography of the region centres on the relationship of ancient sea levels to the continental shelves. Wallace's Line is visible geographically when the continental shelf contours are examined: it can be seen as a deep-water channel linking Borneo, Bali, Java, and Sumatra underwater to the mainland of southeastern Asia.

"During ice age glacial advances, when the ocean levels were up to 120 metres lower, both Asia and Australia were united with what are now islands on their respective continental shelves as continuous land masses, but the deep water between those two large continental shelf areas was, for over 50 million years, a barrier that kept the flora and fauna of Australia separated from those of Asia."

I first learnt about Alfred Russel Wallace in 1991, when I moved into the street in South London where I now live. For part of his life, Wallace lived in a house just a few doors away from my own, though he died long before I was born. Below is the plaque that appears on the wall of the house where Wallace lived.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2017, 01:15:01 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Indonesia, Birds, and Wallace's Line
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2012, 04:52:49 PM »
The birds depicted on Indonesia's coins come from both sides of Wallace's Line. The fantail flycatcher appeared on the Indonesian 1 rupiah coin of 1970. It is found across southern Asia feeds on flies, as its name suggests. The adult bird is about 19 cm in length.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2017, 01:12:40 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Indonesia, Birds, and Wallace's Line
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2012, 04:57:03 PM »
The 5 rupiah of 1970 depicts a black drongo. Also known as the King Crow, it is a common resident breeder in much of tropical southern Asia from southwest Iran, through India and Sri Lanka and east to southern China and Indonesia.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2019, 12:49:26 AM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Indonesia, Birds, and Wallace's Line
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2012, 05:02:15 PM »
The 25 rupiah coin of 1971 depicts a Victoria crowned pigeon, a large bluish-grey pigeon with an average length of 74 cm (29 in). It is distributed in the lowland and swamp forests of northern New Guinea and surrounding islands, so it is essentially an Australasian bird, living to the east of Wallace's Line. Its name commemorates the British monarch, Queen Victoria.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2019, 09:44:36 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Indonesia, Birds, and Wallace's Line
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2012, 05:07:15 PM »
The 50 rupiah coin of 1971 features a Greater Bird of Paradise. The majority of the birds-of-paradise are found on the island of New Guinea, with a few species occurring in the Moluccas and eastern Australia. So again, this is an Australasian bird.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2018, 09:29:01 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Indonesia, Birds, and Wallace's Line
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2012, 05:11:27 PM »
In 1999 Indonesia issued a 50 rupiah coin depicting a black-naped oriole. The oriole is commonly found in many parts of Asia.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2019, 12:43:47 AM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Indonesia, Birds, and Wallace's Line
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2012, 05:16:46 PM »
Also in 1999, Indonesia issued a 100 rupiah coin featuring a black palm cockatoo, another distinctly Australasian bird. It reaches 5560 cm (2224 in) in length and is distributed in rain forests and woodlands of New Guinea island in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, and northern Queensland, Australia.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2018, 03:19:14 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Indonesia, Birds, and Wallace's Line
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2012, 05:23:38 PM »
In 2003, Indonesia issued a 200 rupiah depicting a Bali starling. It reaches up to 25 cm in length and is almost wholly white, with a long, drooping crest, black tips on the wings and tail, and blue bare skin around the eyes. Its habitat is restricted to the island of Bali in Indonesia, to the west of Wallace's Line, so it is essentially an Asian bird.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2019, 12:42:49 AM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Indonesia, Birds, and Wallace's Line
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2012, 05:26:26 PM »
Since 2003, Indonesia has not issued any more circulation coins depicting birds. However, in 1970 it issued a collector coin celebrating 25 years of national independence. The reverse of the coin featured a Greater Bird of Paradise.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2017, 01:07:35 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Indonesia, Birds, and Wallace's Line
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2012, 05:35:43 PM »
Interestingly, Trinidad is also home to birds of paradise, but these were first imported in 1909 and are not native to Trinidad. The species was featured on a Trinidadian circulation 5 cents coin of the 1970s.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2017, 01:06:10 PM by <k> »

Online Figleaf

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Re: Indonesia, Birds, and Wallace's Line
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2012, 12:30:03 AM »
Very interesting, coffeetime, especially because Indonesia straddles both sides of the line. With the exception of Turkey - whose European part is relatively small - the two continent countries seem to have human racial issues as well. One example. Above, you note the bird of paradise on a coin of Indonesia. This bird is the symbol of New Guinea, half of which is part of Indonesia. Racial tension there, between the native papua and the "Javanese" immigrants is an area of decades of international concern. The coin doesn't just show a bird, it gives a thoroughly political message.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline <k>

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Re: Indonesia, Birds, and Wallace's Line
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2012, 10:57:24 PM »
True enough, the bird of paradise is the national symbol of Papua New Guinea. It had never occurred to me to consider that Indonesia's use of it on a coin was a political statement, but I see your point.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2017, 01:05:45 PM by <k> »

Offline thelawnet

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Re: Indonesia, Birds, and Wallace's Line
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2012, 01:41:03 PM »
Of course birds have appeared on Indonesia's  banknotes too. The bird of paradise on this 1960 note:

Sometimes, you have to say, a bird is just a bird, especially when it's as pretty and as endemic to decidedly Indonesian Maluku, as the bird of paradise is.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2017, 01:05:00 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Indonesia, Birds, and Wallace's Line
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2012, 02:53:50 PM »
It seems to me that nobody has asked the birds what they think. What we need is to have a referendum. Somebody needs to catch all the birds on New Guinea (the large island that straddles both countries) then put an Indonesian passport and a Papua New Guinea passport in front of each one, and get them to peck the passport they prefer. That's the only way to decide this, I believe.