What Is The Sunda Shelf Theory Of The Philippines?


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The Sunda Shelf Theory is also known as the Sundaland Theory. The Sunda Shelf Theory states that the Sundaland contained a people called the Kadazandusuns. This area was largely comprised of ice. The Sunda Shelf Theory claims that, following the ice age approximately 13,000 years ago, much of the Sundaland melted as the climate became warmer. As a result, many of the Kadazandusun people migrated to nearby areas - it is thought that Taiwan, China and the Philippines were the main targets for those migrating from the flooded Sundaland. Some theorists pose the idea that people of the Sundaland may have drowned. However, the process of the melting of the Sundaland was not rapid, it was gradual over a number of years, and therefore it is unlikely that a large number of people were drowned. It is thought that the Kadazandusun people were the first to speak the Austronesian languages, and first populated the area around 50,000 years ago.

The Sunda Shelf theory could also refer to the idea that the Philippines was, during the Pleistocene period, part of the mainland body of Southeast Asia. It is thought that the Philippines would have been joined to Southeast Asia via the Sunda Shelf, which is a piece of land of around two million square kilometers, and lies around 100m below sea level.

Today, the Sundaland is used to refer to a region of Southeast Asia which includes the areas where the Malay Peninsula and the islands of Borneo, Java and Sumatra were located. Animals including the elephant, monkey, ape, tiger, tapir and rhinoceros can all be found in the Sundaland. Many of those who study the flora of Asia and the Sundaland feel that the Philippines can be included in a floristic province of Malesia, as the plants found in the Philippines are very similar to those found in Southeast Asia.

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