A new extinct dwarfed buffalo from Sulawesi and the evolution of the subgenus Anoa: An interdisciplinary perspective
The fossil and extant faunas of Sulawesi, the largest island within the Wallacea biogeographic region, exhibit a high degree of endemism. The lowland anoa Bubalus depressicornis and the mountain anoa Bubalus quarlesi, two closely-related dwarfed buffaloes, are among the most peculiar endemic mammals of the region. Here, I describe a new species, Bubalus grovesi, from the Late Pleistocene/Holocene of South Sulawesi and I give a revised diagnosis of Anoa. Bubalus grovesi sp. nov. differs from all previously described Bubalus in both the size and proportions of the skeleton and in possessing a unique combination of discrete character states. Body mass estimates suggest an average mass of 117 kg for Bubalus grovesi sp. nov. and a body size reduction of about 90% with respect to a typical water buffalo.A comprehensive overview of body mass estimates of dwarfed buffaloes and differences in their dental and postcranial features is included. Finally, new evidence on the taxonomy and island dwarfing of the anoas and available data from different disciplines are used to discuss the timing and mode of their evolution. The representatives of the subgenus Anoa would be dwarfed forms of the Asian water buffalo that arose following dispersal to Sulawesi during the Middle/Late Pleistocene.