New type of frog finds scientists
Published 17/05/2010 | 14:11
Finding a new animal species is a special moment for scientists and even better when one hops into their mountain camp in Indonesia and volunteers to be discovered.
An international team of researchers was camping in the Foja mountains of Indonesia when herpetologist Paul Oliver spotted a frog sitting on a bag of rice in the campsite.
On closer look it turned out to be a previously unknown type of long-nosed frog. The scientists dubbed it Pinocchio.
When the frog is calling, its nose points upward, but it deflates when the animal is less active.
"We were sitting around eating lunch," recalled Smithsonian ornithologist Chris Milensky. Oliver "looked down and there's this little frog on a rice sack, and he managed to grab the thing."
"Herpetologists (experts in snakes, lizards etc.) have good reflexes," Milensky observed. "He also caught a gecko, he managed to just jump and grab the thing" off a tree.
And the frog isn't all they found.
Overcoming torrential rain and floods, the researchers report finding the smallest kangaroo yet, a big woolly rat, a three-toned pigeon and a gargoyle-like, bent-toed gecko with yellow eyes.
The Foja Mountains are in the western side of the island of New Guinea, a part of Indonesia that has been little visited by scientists over the years.
So the environmental group Conservation International, with the support of the National Geographic Society and Smithsonian Institution, began investigating the area. The results of their 2008 expedition were announced on Monday.