For the first time in history, scientists have caught a mammal laying an egg named after the naturalist David Attenborough. Thus, it was possible to prove that the Attenborough’s firefly is not extinct, as was feared for the past 62 years. The expedition discovered the animal in the Cyclops Mountains in Indonesia.
The ancient Attenborough’s firefly should have been an extinct species since the 60s of the last century. At least that’s what scientists believed until they managed to discover it this summer on an expedition in the Cyclops Mountains of Indonesia. Scientists from the University of Oxford captured the animal on a three-second shot, reports the BBC.
Until now, the existence of this type of sea urchin was only proven by a decades-old museum specimen. Its importance only became clear in 1998, when X-rays revealed that it was a different baby echidna than originally thought. This species was named after Sir David Attenborough.
But now it turned out that the rare animal still lives in the mountains. “I was euphoric. The whole team was euphoric,” expedition leader James Kempton told the BBC. According to Reuters, the team only found the shot of the sea urchin on the last SD card from the last day of the expedition. According to Kempton, Sir David Attenborough was “absolutely delighted” by the discovery.
Eurasian | Source: TN.cz
Stay in the forest
An academic worker from the Mendel University in Brno also participated in the expedition Attila Balazs. He was part of the entomology team. “We participated in the methodical part of the research, when we installed camera traps,” said Balázs, adding that they deployed camera traps up to a height of 1,963 meters above sea level. “Out of these 80 camera traps, four camera traps captured 14 pictures and several video recordings of this very rare catfish,” added Balázs.
The expedition to the Cyclops Mountains was challenging for scientists because the peaks are steep and their exploration is dangerous. “You’re sliding everywhere. You’re always getting scratched and cut, there are poisonous animals and deadly snakes all around you,” Kempton described the challenging exploration.
Balázs also confirms that the expedition was difficult. “We spent three weeks in the jungle in very difficult conditions. We slept in various hammocks that we hung in the trees. We had a camp there, the natives took care of us, without them it would not have been possible. They provided us with food, it was rice with sardines, which we ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner for three weeks. They were getting firewood to keep us warm at night, because the temperatures dropped radically at those higher altitudes,” Balázs described the adventurous stay in the jungle.
As soon as scientists reached the higher parts of the mountain range, it became clear to them that species new to science live there. In addition to the “lost” dragonfly, they found several dozen new species of insects, two new species of frogs or a completely new type of shrimp living in a tree.
“We managed to discover not only a new species, but this species is new, even in terms of its genus classification. It is actually a completely new genus for science. They are fleas, an order of arthropods that are typical of aquatic habitats, but the humidity at the top the Cyclops mountain range is so high that it can actually persist even in terrestrial conditions,” Balázs explained the discovery of a new type of shrimp. New insect species still await analysis and processing.
Finding a rare sea urchin | Source: Google Maps / TN.cz
A touching reunion at the animal shelter. The rescuers put the separated teddy bears together: