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 Upcycling of PET Bottles: New Ideas for Resource Cycles in Germany
25.06.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Betriebsfestigkeit und Systemzuverlässigkeit LBF

nachricht Dry landscapes can increase disease transmission
20.06.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

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: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>