Test 1


  1. Read the passage carefully. DO NOT PRINT ANYTHING OUT!!
  2. Select the correct answer for each question.
  3. Click on the Check button to see your score.
  4. The recommended time limit for this test is twenty minutes.

Extract from The Malay Archipelago
Alfred R. Wallace

Contrasts of Vegetation. -- Placed immediately upon the Equator and surrounded by extensive oceans, it is not surprising that the various islands of the Archipelago should be almost always clothed with a forest vegetation from the level of the sea to the summits of the loftiest mountains. This is the general rule. Sumatra, New Guinea, Borneo, the Philippines and the Moluccas, and the uncultivated parts of Java and Celebes, are all forest countries, except a few small and unimportant tracts, due perhaps, in some cases, to ancient cultivation or accidental fires. To this, however, there is one important exception in the island of Timor and all the smaller islands around it, in which there is absolutely no forest such as exists in the other islands, and this character extends in a lesser degree to Flores, Sumbawa, Lombock, and Bali.

In Timor the most common trees are Eucalypti of several species, also characteristic of Australia, with sandalwood, acacia, and other sorts in less abundance. These are scattered over the country more or less thickly, but, never so as to deserve the name of a forest. Coarse and scanty grasses grow beneath them on the more barren hills, and a luxuriant herbage in the moister localities. In the islands between Timor and Java there is often a more thickly wooded country abounding in thorny and prickly trees. These seldom reach any great height, and during the force of the dry season they almost completely lose their leaves, allowing the ground beneath them to be parched up, and contrasting strongly with the damp, gloomy, ever-verdant forests of the other islands. This peculiar character, which extends in a less degree to the southern peninsula of Celebes and the east end of Java, is most probably owing to the proximity of Australia. The south-east monsoon, which lasts for about two-thirds of the year (from March to November), blowing over the northern parts of that country, produces a degree of heat and dryness which assimilates the vegetation and physical aspect of the adjacent islands to its own. A little further eastward in Timor and the Ke Islands, a moister climate prevails; the southeast winds blowing from the Pacific through Torres Straits and over the damp forests of New Guinea, and as a consequence, every rocky islet is clothed with verdure to its very summit. Further west again, as the same dry winds blow over a wider and wider extent of ocean, they have time to absorb fresh moisture, and we accordingly find the island of Java possessing a less and less arid climate, until in the extreme west near Batavia, rain occurs more or less all the year round, and the mountains are everywhere clothed with forests of unexampled luxuriance.

Contrasts in Depth of Sea. -- It was first pointed out by Mr. George Windsor Earl, in a paper read before the Royal Geographical Society in 1845, and subsequently in a pamphlet "On the Physical Geography of South-Eastern Asia and Australia", dated 1855, that a shallow sea connected the great islands of Sumatra, Java, and Borneo with the Asiatic continent, with which their natural productions generally agreed; while a similar shallow sea connected New Guinea and some of the adjacent islands to Australia, all being characterised by the presence of marsupials.

We have here a clue 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.

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.


1. According to the author, a "general rule" applying to the various islands of the Malay Archipelago is that:
a) forest vegetation is almost always located at sea level.
b) they are surrounded by extensive oceans.
c) they are covered by extensive forest vegetation.
d) they are placed immediately upon the Equator.

2. The island of Lombock is mentioned in the text as:
a) an example of a small, unimportant island.
b) having more forest than Timor.
c) being accidentally destroyed by fire.
d) an example of unimportant exception.

3. It is the author's opinion that there are:
a) some Eucalyptus forests in Timor.
b) no Eucalyptus trees in Australia.
c) no Eucalyptus forests in Timor.
d) no Eucalyptus forests in Australia.

4. What according to the author accounts for the condition of vegetation on the islands between Timor and Java?
a) the South-East monsoon that blows over Australia.
b) the damp and gloomy conditions on other islands.
c) the moist climate on other islands.
d) the height of thorny and prickly trees.

5. Why is there a different climate on the Ke islands?
a) because the monsoon lasts for two-thirds of the year.
b) because the islands are rocky.
c) because the islands are not close to Australia.
d) because the wind blows over the forests on New Guinea.

6. We can infer from the description of the forests near Batavia that the author:
a) was very impressed by them.
b) thought they were too wet.
c) considered them to be satisfactory.
d) had no strong opinion about them.

7. What is the significance of the depth of the connecting seas as first pointed out by Mr. Earl? The information:
a) supports the view that marsupials can swim.
b) supports the views that Java and Australia were once physically connected.
c) supports the view that Sumatra, Java and Borneo are islands.
d) supports the view that the Malay Archipelago has two geographical origins.

8. Mr. Earl and the author:
a) emphasise different things.
b) have nothing in common.
c) emphasise the same things.
d) are in an academic dispute.

9. The author's information is:
a) based on his reading.
b) based on his personal experiences.
c) mostly inaccurate.
d) very theoretical.

10. What opinion does the author have of his views concerning the origins of the Malay Archipelago?
a) he thinks his views are based on good luck.
b) he doubts the truth of his views.
c) he is convinced of the truth of his views.
d) he thinks his views deserve some merit.

Your score is:

Note: The passage used in this test was downloaded from the Project Gutenberg Web Site and is used on the project designer's understanding that this material is in the public domain and can be freely utilised for a non-profit educational purpose.


Copyright 2000 Phillip Towndrow. All Rights Reserved.