Spectacular discoveries in New Guinea

June 27, 2011 by Karl Malakunas
This photo provided by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on June 27, shows a large green tree-dwelling frog, Litoria dux, that was discovered on the northern side of the Huon Peninsula. A frog with fangs, a blind snake and a snub-nosed dolphin are among the more than 1,000 new species recently found on the incredible Melanesian island of New Guinea, according to WWF.

A frog with fangs, a blind snake and a round-headed dolphin are among more than 1,000 new species recently found on the incredible Melanesian island of New Guinea, environment group WWF said.

Scientists made the astounding discoveries, which also included a river shark and dozens of butterflies, on New Guinea at a rate of two a week from 1998 to 2008, WWF said in a new report on the island's natural habitat.

"This report shows that New Guinea's forests and rivers are among the richest and most biodiverse in the world," said WWF's Western Melanesia programme representative, Neil Stronach.

New Guinea, divided between Indonesia in the west and Papua New Guinea to the east, has one of the world's least spoilt and most stunning ecosystems.

Its rainforests are the third biggest in the world after the Amazon and the Congo, and, while the island covers just 0.5 per cent of the Earth's landmass, it contains up to eight percent of the world's species, according to WWF.

This photo provided by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on June 27, shows a snub-finned dolphin, Orcaella Heinsohni, in an undisclosed location in the waters south of Papua New Guinea. A frog with fangs, a blind snake and a snub-nosed dolphin are among the more than 1,000 new species recently found on the incredible Melanesian island of New Guinea, according to WWF.

What was previously known about New Guinea's biodiversity was already breathtaking, such as the world's biggest butterfly -- with a 30-centimetre (12-inch) wingspan -- and giant rats that can grow up to a metre long.

Scientists believe that one square kilometre (247 acres) of the island's lowland rainforest may contain as many as 150 , according to WWF.

The 1,060 species confirmed by scientists as new discoveries between 1998 and 2008 are believed to have only scratched the surface of New Guinea's dazzling ecosystems.

"Such is the extent of New Guinea's biodiversity that new discoveries are commonplace even today," WWF said in its report, titled "Final Frontier: Newly Discovered Species of New Guinea".

One of the most notable finds documented in the WWF report was a round-headed and snub-finned dolphin, which swims in protected, shallow coastal waters near rivers and creek mouths.

Discovered in 2005 in Papua New Guinea, it was the first new dolphin species recorded anywhere in the world in three decades, and is now known to also exist in Australia, WWF said.

This photo provided by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on June 27, shows a blue-eyed spotted Cuscus, Spilocuscus Wilsoni, in an undisclosed location in Papua New Guinea. A frog with fangs, a blind snake and a snub-nosed dolphin are among the more than 1,000 new species recently found on the incredible Melanesian island of New Guinea, according to WWF.

Another of the 12 mammals found over the decade was an anteater named in honour of British naturalist Sir David Attenborough, Sir David's Long-beaked Echinda or, scientifically, Zaglossus attenboroughi.

One of the 134 frogs discovered was dubbed Litoria sauroni because its striking red and black spotted eyes reminded scientists of the evil character Sauron in the "Lord of the Rings" movies.

Another new frog was notable because of its tiny size -- just one centimetre in length, while one had vampire-like fangs.

Nine snail , some so colourful as to be almost unrecognisable from the backyard-garden-type variety, were among the 580 new invertebrates discovered.

One of the snails was bright yellow, while another was green and yellow.

Among the other new invertebrates was a brightly coloured apricot crayfish, part of the family of creatures called "yabbies" in Australia and some other parts of the world, which was nine to 12 centimetres long

New fish totalled 71, with a kaleidoscope of colours, including one in the coral reefs of Milne Bay in Papua New Guinea that thrilled scientists with its dazzling blue hue.

This photo provided by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on June 27, shows a monitor lizard, Varanus Macraei, in an undisclosed location in Papua New Guinea. A frog with fangs, a blind snake and a snub-nosed dolphin are among the more than 1,000 new species recently found on the incredible Melanesian island of New Guinea, according to WWF.

WWF said the most extraordinary freshwater discovery was a 2.5-metre-long river shark found in that has since also been located in northern Australia.

Of the 43 reptiles discovered, one could claim to be the most innocuous snake in the world -- it was just 12-14 centimetres long, had scales over its eyes so that it could not see, could not bite and had no venom.

But WWF said the excitement of all the had been tempered by the fact that, like in the and Borneo rainforests, human actions were destroying New Guinea's at an "alarming rate".

Some of the growing threats it listed were illegal and unsustainable logging, forest conversion for palm oil plantations, mining, road construction and unsustainable fishing.

"These environmental threats are exacerbated by global climate change which is increasing the number of fires within forests and savannas, erosion, and seawater incursion into coastal habitats," WWF said.

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38 comments

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Argon
2 / 5 (4) Jun 27, 2011
Why is it when I click on the enlarge buttons on the pictures in this article it pops up the exact same size as the same picture in the background? Settings?
Megadeth312
3.3 / 5 (3) Jun 27, 2011
na thats just as big as they get. Its not just you or your settings.
braindead
4.4 / 5 (7) Jun 27, 2011
Maybe all gone within a few decades. Breaks your heart to think of it.
Peteri
3.9 / 5 (7) Jun 27, 2011
Braindead: I concur. Our grandchildren will inherit an impoverished over-exploited and polluted world mostly turned over to monoculture crops and grazing for domestic animals feeding the mega-cities housing the billions of humans swarming over the planet like a plague of voracious ants.

What remnants of any natural wilderness there are will be confined to areas of the planet deemed unprofitable to exploitation by humans - but even these will be subject to pressures such as poaching as the rare plants and animals become a sort after commodity.

I hope I am wrong, but nothing I see happening today convinces me otherwise!
Djincss
2.8 / 5 (10) Jun 27, 2011


The solution is to return to worshipping and honouring the creator. Anything less will certainly drive us to the place where we need the coming wrath that will in any case put an end to suffering, pain and death.


Do you really think that the societies which worship your fake creator(never mind the kind), are the one that will save the world?
You can clearly see that stupid people worshipers are the problem, the more atheistic societies are smarter and they decrease their population, also they care about species in danger, and the opposite, stupid societies bad at getting science and thus believers ruin the Planet with their populational explosion, they are the pest you are talking about, and maybe you are part of them think about that.
Burnerjack
4 / 5 (4) Jun 27, 2011
The root cause IMNSHO, is not religion at all. It is in fact the geopolitical action of using birthrates as a weapon and source of profit in an endless quest for wealth. I seriously doubt most of the overall environmental assaults on the Earth and her inhabitants can be successfully quelled without at the minimum, a human population homeostasis or better yet, a reduction. I do not loathe the human race, but I do believe our unbridled success has become our greatest burden. Converting all the world's population to one religion and/or one government will not by itself solve the core issue.
Sinister1811
2.2 / 5 (10) Jun 27, 2011
Maybe all gone within a few decades. Breaks your heart to think of it.


That's why they haven't revealed the exact location. It's to protect the biodiversity. I, too, hope that they don't end up extinct. Especially given the fact that we know so little about them. At least this time they actually posted pictures of the newly discovered species in the article. The last article I read had no pictures at all.
epsi00
5 / 5 (6) Jun 27, 2011
If we continue to ignore the problems we are faced with as a species, nature will find its own solution and it won't be pretty. Nature has the ability to re normalize things. And by nature I do not mean God, I mean that heartless collection of laws of physics and chemistry and biology and...And all the money of the world won't buy the money worshipers an exception to the rule. They will perish like the rest of us and decompose the same way.
Peteri
3.8 / 5 (4) Jun 27, 2011
Following on from the comments of Burnerjack and epsi00:

Exponential increase in the population size of a given species due to unrestrained growth are almost inevitably followed by a rapid crash as the capacity of the environment to sustain the rising population is exceeded.

Unless drastic measures are taken to curb and reverse the growth of the global human population, its current exponential growth dictates that we are fast approaching the point where it will crash in a profound and devastating manner.

Continued unrestrained growth of whatever form within the confines of an environment of finite resources is unsustainable. The sooner politicians in the various world economies wake up to this harsh truth and plan for a sustainable low-population future the better. By doing so they can avoid, or at least mitigate, the looming population crisis.
Shootist
1.6 / 5 (7) Jun 27, 2011
Braindead: I concur. Our grandchildren will inherit an impoverished over-exploited


Like the one our ancestors inherited after the last glaciation? No ground sloths, terror birds, mammoths, mastodons, sabre toothed tigers, cave bears, North American horses and dire wolfs?

Not to mention Neander and Erectus only 20,000 years earlier.

Dead as Marley's ghost.

Though interesting, I don't think we've really missed much.
Telekinetic
3.3 / 5 (12) Jun 27, 2011
"The solution is to return to worshipping and honouring the creator."
You have every right to your belief, but I've yet to see prayer still a chain saw or idle a bulldozer.
Telekinetic
2.1 / 5 (7) Jun 27, 2011
Braindead: I concur. Our grandchildren will inherit an impoverished over-exploited


Like the one our ancestors inherited after the last glaciation? No ground sloths, terror birds, mammoths, mastodons, sabre toothed tigers, cave bears, North American horses and dire wolfs?

Not to mention Neander and Erectus only 20,000 years earlier.

Dead as Marley's ghost.

Though interesting, I don't think we've really missed much.

The species you mentioned were part of a balanced and synergistic ecosystem. Your fear of them reminds me of Dorothy's : "Lions and Tigers and Bears- Oh,My!
aroc91
4.2 / 5 (5) Jun 27, 2011
The most remarkable thing about these species would be to find a satisfactory evolutionary explanation for their existence - how to couple a fitting ancestor to explain how these things came about.

As for Peteri's pessimism - there is a solution to the swarming and destruction by human beings. Of course you and alll those you describe so acidly would probably not accept it. The solution is to return to worshipping and honouring the creator. Anything less will certainly drive us to the place where we need the coming wrath that will in any case put an end to suffering, pain and death.


Stfu, please. A frog having fangs and a blind snake aren't that outlandish. There are all sorts of blind organisms that dwell in caves and other similar unlit areas.

For the 50,000th time, go read a fucking textbook, because I truly feel sorry for you because of your disability to understand even the most simple biological concepts.
Telekinetic
2.7 / 5 (9) Jun 27, 2011
I would say that all species are critical for our survival, because when you realize that nature has provided in plants, for instance, a potential cure for nearly all of our ailments, as if we were all sprung from the same molecules, needing on occasion a loan from another species' bank of molecules.
Skeptic_Heretic
4.3 / 5 (6) Jun 27, 2011
The most remarkable thing about these species would be to find a satisfactory evolutionary explanation for their existence - how to couple a fitting ancestor to explain how these things came about.
It's only a problem for those too dimwitted to do the basic reading, like yourself.
As for Peteri's pessimism - there is a solution to the swarming and destruction by human beings. Of course you and alll those you describe so acidly would probably not accept it. The solution is to return to worshipping and honouring the creator.
Prayer has done nothing of merit, ever.
Anything less will certainly drive us to the place where we need the coming wrath that will in any case put an end to suffering, pain and death.
You're more than welcome to visit Detroit any time you wish.
unknownorgin
2.8 / 5 (6) Jun 28, 2011
It reminds me of coin collecting, If an animal is rare and different or colorful it seems to have great value but if any of the animals in this article were as common as dogs or chickens they would not be worth anyones attention. Just an observation.
dutchman
4 / 5 (3) Jun 28, 2011

Let's face it, the only solution to global denudation of forests (looks like the tropical ones are the only large scale ones left) is BIRTH CONTROL.

Unfortunately, many religious nuts in general, and the Catholic Church in particular still believe that "God will provide."

Somehow it looks like God has better things to do, than to pay attention to religious doctrine.
GSwift7
1.5 / 5 (4) Jun 29, 2011
It reminds me of coin collecting, If an animal is rare and different or colorful it seems to have great value but if any of the animals in this article were as common as dogs or chickens they would not be worth anyones attention.


Actually, if you found a population of wild chickens, it would be quite a discovery.

the only solution to global denudation of forests (looks like the tropical ones are the only large scale ones left)


Ummm, that's not accurate at all. Typical eco-nutcase disinformation.

http://en.wikiped...ki/Taiga

from the wiki article:

Taiga, also known as the boreal forest, is a biome characterized by coniferous forests.

Taiga is the world's largest terrestrial biome


The entire Northern exspanse of the North American and Eur-Asian continents are covered in boreal forests, much of which is still pristine.
GSwift7
1 / 5 (3) Jun 29, 2011
Large areas of forest all over the world are safe from developement due to the fact that many of the forests grow in places that are not suited for any type of human development. For example, of all the boreal forest land in British Columbia, only about 5% of that is aerable and suited for agriculture of any type. Modern forestry methods in industrialized countries is turning out to be a godsend (excuse the use of that term, lol) for the forests. It turns out that developed nations are reforesting rather than deforesting, which has had some unintended consequences like lake acidification from forest debris and water consumption problems too. Oh well, can't have everything.

In regard to population, people have been saying that we will all starve and wreck the planet for 100 years now. It didn't happen, and most experts agree that it won't. Some species are doomed. Oh well. Niche species never last long in nature anyway. BTW, we are part of nature you know.
GSwift7
1.8 / 5 (4) Jun 29, 2011
The WWF, from which the above article comes, is only concerned with wildlife, but if I had to voice my most urgent worry in regard to humans, it would be fresh water. They almost touched on it above, when they commented on salt water intrusion, but water management isn't really the venue of the WWF. As people accumulate around coastal areas and drain the underground aquifers of fresh water, it allows salt water to move farther inland underground. It also tends to cause subsidence of the land at a rate as much as 20 times faster than the worst predictions of sea level rise. Then there's the issue of pollution of coastal water, also caused by human population concentration near coastlines, such as in Mexico and India. I would say that coastal urbanization is probably the biggest human caused problem in the world, not deforestation. Many rivers around the world don't even have year-round flow any more due to people using the water before it reaches the end of the river.
AlwaysRight
1 / 5 (1) Jun 29, 2011
In regard to population, people have been saying that we will all starve and wreck the planet for 100 years now. It didn't happen, and most experts agree that it won't. Some species are doomed. Oh well. Niche species never last long in nature anyway. BTW, we are part of nature you know.

I don't know what experts you are talking about, but crop yields are quickly approaching their maximum and crops are being diverted to ethanol production, also, the population is 7 times greater than 100 years ago. There are limits to growth no matter how much you want to deny it. Look at how food prices have skyrocketed. Any change in weather is horribly disruptive to food supplies. People wouldn't have been so eager to riot in Egypt if they had lots of food. Pull your head out of the sand and take a look around before you say things like our food supplies aren't in danger.
GSwift7
1 / 5 (3) Jun 29, 2011
I don't know what experts you are talking about, but crop yields are quickly approaching their maximum and crops are being diverted to ethanol production, also, the population is 7 times greater than 100 years ago


They have printed studies about it here on Physorg in the past 6 months. You must not follow the litterature. The predictions are that improvements in crop adaptations, fertilizer, pest control, irrigation, automation of land husbandry, etc. will continue to increase crop yields at a rate sufficient to meet demand beyond the forseeable future.

The problem in the future for food is the same as it is today. It is poverty. The people today who cannot afford to buy food will still not be able to afford to buy food in 30 years. Here's an excellent NY Times article with some links:

http://green.blog...be-done/

check the Beddington report. It's quite good, though a little AGW biased.
AlwaysRight
2.5 / 5 (2) Jun 29, 2011
So from reading a few of the links the mitigation of hunger relies on substantial investment in technology and resources. This will further increase the cost of food. You are correct in the statement that poverty is the problem. But with increased costs associated with food production, there will a greater number of people living in poverty. The people today who cannot afford to buy food will not be able to buy food in 30 years, and then add to this a substantial amount of people who can afford food now and who won't be able to afford it in 30 years. We won't all starve but more people will.

Your points on fresh water trump food anyway. We can't eat without water.
Argon
1.1 / 5 (9) Jun 29, 2011

If you have ever taken a drive through such states as Wyoming, or flown on a plane at night with a window seat, there should be no doubt in your mind that the earth is not overpopulated, if anything it is underpopulated.

Genocide and birth control is not the answer. If it's too crowded where you live then MOVE!

I tell ya, some people scarcely leave their city, which means they tend to get a false sense that every place is like their city. NOPE! WRONG!

Believe it or not, most of the land area in China(the most populated country in the world) is uninhabited! Take a look at Australia, South America, Canada, Africa, Russia, and the United States all of whose land area is mostly uninhabited and with today's technology you'll never convince me uninhabitable! But the prospect of expansion and of using our natural resources to do so is unthinkable to the socialist mindset: instead of allowing people to cut down trees and build, they'd rather them live in getto shacks! It's Wicked!
Argon
1 / 5 (4) Jun 29, 2011
GSwift7
1.8 / 5 (4) Jun 30, 2011
But with increased costs associated with food production, there will a greater number of people living in poverty


You are missing an important factual point. Food is wealth. Take for example people living in China. As people in the countryside receive modern technology such as electricity and running water, they are able to grow more food and to grow food in places where they could not before. They are therefore actually producing their own wealth. Money actually does grow on trees, and in corn fields and in rice paddies. As those people gain access to new crop varieties which are resistant to pests, they no longer need so much pesticide. Better seasonal weather forcasts is also helping to decide what, when and how much to plant. Many of the new things that help to increase crop yield do not add any cost increase for those farmers in poor countries. For instance, they may not even know that they are using a new GM seed. They just bought it from the usual place.
GSwift7
1.8 / 5 (4) Jun 30, 2011
If you look at a place like Sudan, the reason people are poor and starving isn't technology or money. That's an oil rich country. They were actually quite wealthy and modern less than a century ago. The problem is war. They burn the fields and blow up the oil pipelines, then they hunt herds of wild elephants and other wildlife to the point of extinction to feed themselves.

Look at North Korea versus South Korea. Same geography. North = starving. South = wealthy. The problem isn't the cost of food or the ability of the land to sustain agriculture.
GSwift7
1.5 / 5 (4) Jun 30, 2011
The people today who cannot afford to buy food will not be able to buy food in 30 years, and then add to this a substantial amount of people who can afford food now and who won't be able to afford it in 30 years. We won't all starve but more people will


If that is true, then it will be due to politics and economics, not agricultural capacity.

In a technologically backward place an average farmer is usually just barely able to support himself. There is no surplus. A bad year or two and he's dead. When modern technology is applied you start to have one farmer produce much more than he needs just for himself, a surplus. If someone else builds a storage facility, then you can keep the surplus on reserve. If a third person builds a transportation business, then you can move the surplus around. If a fourth person builds a store then you can sell it to people who do not farm. Then you suddenly have an economy that sustains itself. Like magic.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.4 / 5 (8) Jun 30, 2011
The most remarkable thing about these species would be to find a satisfactory evolutionary explanation for their existence - how to couple a fitting ancestor to explain how these things came about.
Indeed. As well as how 2 of all the species of the world could have fit on noahs ark (did god make them all 2 dimensional for the trip?) and how Noah made it to New guinea to collect these (did he borrow santas hypersonic sleigh?)? -I wonder.

-Hey maybe god evolved them all to have goose wings which fell off when they got to noahs place? I'm trying to be helpful here. Multiple sets for Komodo dragons and anacondas and such.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.6 / 5 (9) Jun 30, 2011
The solution is to return to worshipping and honouring the creator. Anything less... wrath etc
-And being fruitful and multiplying without limit as he demands?? Why, that is what's CAUSING all the suffering and destruction in the world today don't you know that kev?

I suppose if we were ALL southern reformed penticostals of the lake Charles church then we would all be able to live shoulder to shoulder and survive on manna from heaven, and we would finally be at peace because there would be no room left to assume the missionary position. But I think things would degenerate long before then, as they always do, ay kev?

Or maybe god would just MAKE us get along and restrict our population growth for us. After we've demonstrated the proper reverence. And all become southern reformed penticostals of the lake Charles church. The one over on baker street that is. The one on the boulevard is full of snobs. We all hate them.
GSwift7
2 / 5 (4) Jun 30, 2011
lol, that was FUNNY.

Cruel, but FUNNY.

I just had a family reunion over the weekend, so I was in a house full of those SRPotLCC people. Three of them are ministers, not just members. lol.

And back on the original topic, and related discussion:

It's actually amazing how many unidentified and/or little-known species there are right here in the US. Here in South Carolina, for example, there are at least two species of large bats that they don't hardly know anything about. I saw one once and tried to look it up, but there's almost nothing known about it. It took years to prove the return of mountain lions to Kansas City, and people are now saying that the North Eastern mountain lion might not be extinct after 50 years without an official sighting. So, keeping that in mind, imagine how a survey like the one above might just be scratching the surface of what's really there.

Noah's Ark. lol again.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.3 / 5 (6) Jun 30, 2011
Maybe...
Jonahs fish was one of a vast armada, commissioned by god to transport mating pairs from all parts if the globe. This has just occurred to me.

But was Noah near the coast? He wouldn't have needed to be, for obvious reasons. The animals would have had to creep, crawl, trot and slither inland, consuming a wide swath as they went. But not each other.
Cruel, but FUNNY.
No what is cruel in a morbid way is what religions cause us to do to each other by dividing us up into opposing factions and compelling these factions to try to outreproduce one another. This condemns the world to near constant conflict and suffering.

Kevins god works this evil under a visage of total loving care and mercy. Yet he threatens all who don't do as he says with eternal torment. With a sad smile he does this I suppose.

If the great Deceiver existed, this is exactly how we should expect him to corrupt and ruin us. By promising us everlasting joy as we unsuspectingly follow him into hell.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.8 / 5 (5) Jun 30, 2011
I just had a family reunion over the weekend, so I was in a house full of those SRPotLCC people. Three of them are ministers, not just members. lol.
Hopefully they weren't from that group over on the boulevard. If so, count your silverware.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.2 / 5 (6) Jun 30, 2011
If you have ever taken a drive through such states as Wyoming, or flown on a plane at night with a window seat, there should be no doubt in your mind that the earth is not overpopulated, if anything it is underpopulated.
And if you ever took a drive through New Delhi or darfur you might get a different opinion. Or understood why large food fish species are in danger of extinction, or why many areas are now running out of clean water.

You dont know enough to have an informed opinion and yet you attempt to have one. Why is that? Your videos are also deceptive and naive. For instance overpop creates the idle, disaffected, throngs which are the direct cause of insurrection and armed conflict. Denial of food and clean water then become weapons of choice and convenience.
emsquared
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 30, 2011
Let's face it, the only solution to global denudation of forests ... is BIRTH CONTROL.

You know what's the best control for birth rates? Education. Of the academic sort. I'm not talking abstinence only or education about birth control mechanisms. Educate a population on how to read, do math and basic critical thinking and watch their birth rate fall, generation after generation.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.3 / 5 (6) Jun 30, 2011
Let's face it, the only solution to global denudation of forests ... is BIRTH CONTROL.

You know what's the best control for birth rates? Education. Of the academic sort. I'm not talking abstinence only or education about birth control mechanisms. Educate a population on how to read, do math and basic critical thinking and watch their birth rate fall, generation after generation.
Really? Well why dont you discuss it with these guys:
http://en.wikiped...ko_Haram

-Sadly, this is the kind of response you can expect to get from those people who are the greatest cause of this problem. Religionists. Until you destroy the culture they will be immune to your entreaties. Theyre already educated you see.
FroShow
not rated yet Jul 04, 2011
As entertaining as the berating has been, I was looking forward to reading comments related to the article.

In an attempt to get back on track:
A likely reason why New Guinea has such biodiversity is the difficulty of the terrain which limits the migration of species and creates many mini-ecosystems.
As the island becomes more developed, these natural barriers will lessen. The biodiversity will suffer not just because humans will devastate some ecosystems, but because competition between species will increase. (IMO)
Ethelred
not rated yet Jul 05, 2011
A likely reason why New Guinea has such biodiversity is the difficulty of the terrain which limits the migration of species and creates many mini-ecosystems.
Part of it anyway. Another likely cause is a long term stable TROPICAL climate which allows species to specialize far more than species can do in a temperate climate with wide seasonal variation. Warmer on the south facing slope, well that means species don't have spend as much energy on keeping high temperature chemistry going. North slope species can get away with less UV protection. Not just for plants for smaller animals as well.

As the island becomes more developed, these natural barriers will lessen.
New Guinea really doesn't have all that much development. The diseases may keep it that way.

Ethelred

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