Lost World Found in Papua New Guinea Volcano

Sep 08, 2009 by Lin Edwards weblog
Lost World Found in Papua New Guinea Volcano

(PhysOrg.com) -- A BBC expedition exploring inside the crater of an extinct volcano in Papua New Guinea (PNG) has discovered a lost world of dozens of weird new species and rare animals, including new frogs, a giant rat, many new insects and spiders, giant caterpillars, and a new bat species.

Steve Greenwood, producer of "Lost Land of the Volcano" said the expedition to Mount Bosavi for the series follows on from expeditions to remote rainforests in Borneo for "Expedition Borneo" and Guyana for "Lost Land of the Jaguar".

The Mount Bosavi crater is 2.5 miles wide and over 3,300 feet high, and is located in the remote and mountainous southern highlands of . The mountain and its pristine, extinct crater are so inaccessible that even the few people in the Kasua tribe who live in nearby villages rarely enter the area.

One of the village elders told Greenwood, "if you fall when climbing in, no one will ever find your body."

The expedition, from 30 January to 4 March 2009, included two directors, two cameramen, two sound recordists, support staff, a medical expert, expert tree climbers and cavers, trackers from the Kasua tribe, and several scientists, led by Professor George McGavin, an Oxford University Research Lecturer and Assistant Curator of Entomology in the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

The number of new species found cannot be confirmed until the biologists have finished evaluating the finds, but they believe there may be up to 40 previously undescribed species. This includes 20 new species of and , 16 species of frogs, a new bat, and at least three fish species. Many of the new species discovered are believed to exist only in the Mount Bosavi crater.

Some of the weird animals they discovered included a fish that uses its swim bladder to make grunting sounds, a frog with fangs, a camouflaged gecko, fantastic spiders, a rat almost three feet long, and the rare Doria's . The animals had no fear of the expedition team, suggesting they had not encountered people before because the huge crater's inaccessibility had effectively excluded them.

One of the expedition scientists, Dr Kristofer Helgen from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, said the giant rat they found was one of the largest in the world. It was first spotted at an elevation of over 3,300 ft by an infrared camera trap set up in the forest by cameraman Gordon Buchanan, and this was followed by finding a live specimen. The captured rat measured 32 inches from the tip of the tail to the nose, and weighed about 3.3 pounds. The scientists have tentatively named the animal the Bosavi woolly rat, and think it belongs to the genus Mallomys, which includes several other giant rats.

The television series on this amazing crater and its lost world of strange animals is called "The Lost Land of the Volcano" and premieres on Britain's BBC1 on 8 September 2009.


Join PhysOrg.com on Facebook!
Follow PhysOrg.com on Twitter!
via BBC

© 2009 PhysOrg.com

Explore further: Study solves the bluetongue disease 'overwintering' mystery

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Two new mammals found in Indonesian 'lost world'

Dec 17, 2007

A tiny possum and a giant rat were recorded by scientists as probable new species on a recent expedition to Indonesia’s remote and virtually unknown “Lost World” in the pristine wilderness of western ...

Scientists find 56 new species in Papua New Guinea

Mar 25, 2009

Jumping spiders, a tiny chirping frog and an elegant striped gecko are among 56 species believed new to science discovered during a Conservation International (CI) Rapid Assessment Program (RAP) expedition ...

The global impact of climate change on biodiversity

Jan 21, 2009

New research led by the University of York which retraced the steps of a 1965 survey on Mount Kinabalu in Borneo has discovered that, on average, species had moved uphill by about 67 m over the intervening years to cope with ...

Scientists find 40 new species in Amazon

Oct 02, 2006

An international team of scientists risked their lives to discover 40 new species of plants and animals in a recent exploration of the Amapa region of Brazil.

Recommended for you

Study solves the bluetongue disease 'overwintering' mystery

Sep 12, 2014

The bluetongue virus, which causes a serious disease that costs the cattle and sheep industries in the United States an estimated $125 million annually, manages to survive the winter by reproducing in the insect that transmits ...

Taking the 'sting' out of reproduction

Sep 12, 2014

(Phys.org) —Female parasitic wasps have more reproductive success when working together with other females, which can also explain sex biased reproduction, according to new research.

Golden retriever study sniffs for cancer clues

Sep 11, 2014

(HealthDay)—Michael Court is a scientist and a dog lover, so he jumped at the chance to enroll his golden retriever in a nationwide study aimed at fighting cancer and other ills in canines.

User comments : 8

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Archivis
5 / 5 (1) Sep 08, 2009
BAH! I want to see this but it's only being initially broadcast on the BBC. Booooo!
RayCherry
5 / 5 (3) Sep 08, 2009
Bet you'll have a BitTorrent on the 9th!

How amazing that with all the technology and distribution of modern population that we can still find pockets of 'new territory'. I just hope it remains that way, immediately gains protection from local government, and international recognition as a nature reserve and world heritage site.
Genep34
5 / 5 (2) Sep 08, 2009
They must protect this.
Shaffer
5 / 5 (2) Sep 08, 2009
COOL......sounds like it would make a nice Aussie Rules Football stadium!

TJ_alberta
5 / 5 (2) Sep 08, 2009
hope they left all the big rats there.
poi
5 / 5 (1) Sep 09, 2009
Some of the weird animals they discovered included a fish that uses its swim bladder to make grunting sounds, - (hmm...)
a frog with fangs, - (wooh..., scary!)
a camouflaged gecko, - (wel, isn't this more of a given?)
fantastic spiders, - (lol! what a way to describe spiders - very graphic! helps a lot!)
a rat almost three feet long, - (no, they said it's a woolly rat. maybe a lost capybara)
and the rare Doria's tree kangaroo. - (they do look cute)
The animals had no fear of the expedition team, suggesting they had not encountered people before because the huge crater's inaccessibility had effectively excluded them.

Is this ever a right generalization when it comes to animals?
Archivis
5 / 5 (1) Sep 09, 2009
Rodents of Unusual Size??? Is this the fire swamp?!?!? lol

And secondly... Come here bittorrent :)
thales
1 / 5 (1) Sep 09, 2009
Life is awesome.