07 February 2006

Papua New Eden

After one month spent in an isolated mountain valley of Papua (on New Guinea), scientists found

  • A new species of honeyeater, the first new bird species discovered on the island of New Guinea since 1939

  • The formerly unknown breeding grounds of a "lost" bird of paradise - the six-wired bird of paradise (Parotia berlepschi)

  • First photographs of the golden-fronted bowerbird displaying at its bower.

  • A new large mammal for Indonesia, the golden-mantled tree kangaroo (Dendrolagus pulcherrimus)

  • More than 20 new species of frogs, including a tiny microhylid frog less than 14mm long

  • A series of previously undescribed plant species, including five new species of palms

  • A remarkable white-flowered rhododendron with flower about 15cm across

  • Four new butterfly species [BBC]

More pictures of the creatres are available.

It's really amazing to be finding new species, even whole regions of new species, in this day and age, when we've explored so much of the world already, and are destroying species so quickly. Even the indigenous people of the region didn't know of this mountain valley, it wasn't in their history at all.

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