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Wednesday 08 February 2006 Dozens of New Species discovered in 'Lost World' in New Guinea

Lost bird of paradise High in the mountain rainforests of New Guinea a "lost world" has been discovered, containing dozens of new species, by an international team of scientists. From the Independent: "In a jungle camp site, surrounded by giant flowers and unknown plants, the researchers watched rare bowerbirds perform elaborate courtship rituals. The surrounding forest was full of strange mammals, such as tree kangaroos and spiny anteaters, which appeared totally unafraid, suggesting no previous contact with humans."

Bruce Beehler, of the American group Conservation International, who led the month-long expedition last November and December, said:

"It is as close to the Garden of Eden as you're going to find on Earth. We found dozens, if not hundreds, of new species in what is probably the most pristine ecosystem in the whole Asian-Pacific region. There were so many new things it was almost overwhelming. And we have only scratched the surface of what is there."

Among the forty recorded mammal species are: six species of tree kangeroos, which are rare in New Guinea, were thriving there. Among those six species a new species to Indonesia has been recorded, the golden-mantled tree kangeroo. The spiny anteater, was also encountered.

"Like all the mammals found in the area, it was completely unafraid of humans and could be easily picked up, suggesting its previous contact with man was negligible."

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.
- First photographs of the golden-fronted bowerbird displaying at its bower.
- A new large mammal for Indonesia, the golden-mantled tree kangaroo.
- More than 20 new species of frogs, including a tiny microhylid frog less than 14mm long.
- A series of plant species- A remarkable white-flowered rhododendron with flower about 15cm across.
- Four new butterfly species.

Resources:

The Independent

Conservation International

8 pictures of the "lost world" species

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