New Species Found in “Lost World”

“Pinocchio” Frog

From National Geographic, photographs by Tim Laman:

This Pinocchio-like tree frog species was discovered by fortunate accident when it ventured into a Foja Mountains camp kitchen and perched on a bag of rice, where herpetologist Paul Oliver of Australia’s University of Adelaide spotted it. Oliver was unable to find another of these frogs, and suspects that they stay mostly in the treetops.

The male frog’s nose, the scientists were surprised to discover, points upward when the animal’s calling and hangs flaccid when it’s not. “Exactly what it is for, no one really knows for sure,” Oliver said

Lost World Tree Mouse

This tiny tree mouse, likely a new species, is one of a host of mouse and rat species that call the Foja Mountains home.

“This one in particular is a species that moves through the forest on networks of tree branches and vines,” said Helgen, who discovered the animal. “It essentially uses them almost like a highway in the forest. It hardly ever has to go down and touch the ground.”

Foja Mountains

Very few people have set foot in these precipitous mountains, where knife-edge ridges and vertical cliffs rise to 7,200 feet (2,200 meters).

The Foja Mountains‘ topography and almost impenetrable forest cover make travel so difficult that even after the second, 2008 expedition, the Lost World remains largely unexplored—with potentially many more new species awaiting discovery.

Conservation International (CI) expedition leaders say they hope the current round of new species discoveries will encourage Indonesia to boost protection of the region—currently a national wildlife refuge—while it’s still pristine.

““Places like these,” said CI senior research scientist and expedition member Bruce Beehler in a statement, “represent a healthy future for all of us and show that it is not too late to stop the current species extinction crisis.”

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