Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists discover dozens of new species in ’Lost World’ of western New Guinea

08.02.2006


Lost bird of paradise found in isolated Foja mountains of Papua, along with new honeyeater bird, new frogs and a rare tree kangaroo



An expedition to one of Asia’s most isolated jungles – in the mist-shrouded Foja Mountains of western New Guinea – discovered a virtual ’’Lost World" of new species, giant flowers, and rare wildlife that was unafraid of humans.

The December 2005 trip by a team of U.S., Indonesian, and Australian scientists led by Conservation International (CI) found dozens of new species including frogs, butterflies, plants, and an orange-faced honeyeater, the first new bird from the island of New Guinea in more than 60 years.


Conservation International and the Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI) sponsored the expedition, with financial support from the Swift Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the National Geographic Society and the Global Environment Project Institute.

The team captured the first photos ever seen of exotic birds such as a male Berlepsch’s Six-Wired Bird of Paradise (Parotia berlepschi). It also found a new large mammal for Indonesia – the Golden-mantled Tree Kangaroo (Dendrolagus pulcherrimus), formerly known from only a single mountain in neighboring Papua New Guinea.

"It’s as close to the Garden of Eden as you’re going to find on Earth," marveled Bruce Beehler, vice president of CI’s Melanesia Center for Biodiversity Conservation and a co-leader of the expedition. "The first bird we saw at our camp was a new species. Large mammals that have been hunted to near extinction elsewhere were here in abundance. We were able to simply pick up two Long-Beaked Echidnas, a primitive egg-laying mammal that is little known."

The discoveries solved one major ornithological mystery – the location of the homeland of Berlepsch’s Six-Wired Bird of Paradise. First described in the late 19th century through specimens collected by indigenous hunters from an unknown location on New Guinea, the species had been the focus of several subsequent expeditions that failed to find it.

On the second day of the recent month-long expedition, amazed scientists watched as a male Berlepsch’s bird of paradise performed a mating dance for an attending female in the field camp. This was the first time a live male of the species had been observed by Western scientists, and proved that the Foja Mountains was the species’ true home.

The expedition took place almost 25 years after Jared Diamond startled the scientific world in 1981 with his discovery of the forest homeland of the Golden-fronted Bowerbird in the same mountain range. This time, scientists captured the first photographs ever of the Golden-fronted Bowerbird displaying at its bower – a tower of twigs and other forest materials it builds for the mating ritual.

The new species of honeyeater, the first new bird discovered on the island of New Guinea since 1939, has a bright orange face-patch with a pendant wattle under each eye. Other discoveries included what may be the largest rhododendron flower on record – almost six inches across – along with more than 20 new frogs and four new butterflies.

Local Kwerba and Papasena people, customary landowners of the forest, welcomed the Conservation International team and served as guides and naturalists on the expedition into the vast jungle tract. These people told the team that game was hunted in abundance within an hour’s walk of the village.

Such abundance of food and other resources means the mountain range’s interior – more than 300,000 hectares of old growth tropical forest – remains untouched by humans, and the entire Foja forest tract of more than 1 million hectares constitutes the largest essentially pristine tropical forest in Asia and an important region for biodiversity conservation.

Tom Cohen | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.conservation.org

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Value from wastewater
16.08.2017 | Hochschule Landshut

nachricht Species Richness – a false friend? Scientists want to improve biodiversity assessments
01.08.2017 | Carl von Ossietzky-Universität Oldenburg

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>