40 New Species Found in Papua New Guinea

Posted on September 12, 2009  Comments (0)

huge rat found in New GuineaThe rat is not afraid of humans, which could make it vulnerable. Photo by the BBC.

Yet another discovery of dozens of new species has been made. The rat that’s the size of a cat: 40 new species in ‘lost world’ at a remote volcano in Papua New Guinea.

In the kilometre-deep crater of Mount Bosavi, they found a habitat teeming with life which has evolved in isolation since the volcano last erupted 200,000 years ago.

Among the new species was the the Bosavi Woolly Rat. One of the biggest rats in the world, it measures just over 32 inches from nose to tail and weighs 3lb. The silvery grey mammal has dense fur and its teeth suggest it has a largely vegetarian diet and probably builds nests in tree hollows or underground.

It is estimated that along with the giant rat and cuscus the expedition found about 16 species of frogs, one species of gecko, at least three species of fish, at least 20 of insects and spiders and possibly one new species of bat.

Further evidence of the rich wildlife of the tropical location came with the discovery of the Bosavi Silky Cuscus. This animal, which resembles a small bear, is a marsupial that lives up in trees, feeding on fruits and leaves.

Weighing in at some 4.5lb, it has thick silky fur adapted for the mountain environment in which it lives. Dr Helgen has identified it as a new subspecies in the group of strange marsupials known as cuscuses.

The habitat in the area is currently regarded as pristine, but less than 20 miles to the south of Mount Bosavi extensive logging operations are happening.

Related: 2,000 Species New to Science from One Island1,000 Species Discovered in Greater Mekong in Last DecadeMassive Gorilla Population Found50 Species of Diatoms

Leave a Reply