1,000 New Species Discovered in New Guinea

[caption id="attachment_48384" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Damselfish, Chrysiptera cymatilis"][/caption]

It's always sort of fascinating to me when researchers travel somewhere and "discover" hundreds of new plants and fish--haven't people in those areas always known about them? I don't think it counts as discovery so much as an awareness on the part of documented science, but I guess there's not much distinction between the two on paper. That electric-blue damselfish up there is just one of the hundreds of new fish discovered in the last decade or so. And so pretty!
A new type of tree kangaroo, a 2.5-metre-long river shark, a frog with vampire-like fangs and a turquoise lizard are among hundreds of new creatures found and being documented in a report by conservationists working in the Pacific island of New Guinea.

Some 1,060 previously unknown species of mammals, fish and birds have been spotted in the volcanic island over a 10-year period.

The Final Frontier report, which was put together by WWF as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations, marks a brief respite from the escalating rate of animal and plant extinctions which is taking its toll across the planet and has left a quarter of all known mammals on the endangered list.

The species have all been discovered, at a rate of two each week, in the period from 1998 to 2008 by the various teams and researchers who have visited the region and its extensive forests, waters and wetlands.

One team discovered a new bird, the wattled smoky honeyeater, within seconds of leaving their expedition helicopter.

Check out the pics and some stories about the more interesting finds on the Guardian. Link | Slideshow

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