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Scientists hail discovery of hundreds of new species in remote New Guinea
An astonishing mist-shrouded "lost world" of previously unknown and rare animals and plants high in the mountain rainforests of New Guinea has been uncovered by an international team of scientists.
Among the new species of birds, frogs, butterflies and palms discovered in the expedition through this pristine environment, untouched by man, was the spectacular Berlepsch's six-wired bird of paradise. The scientists are the first outsiders to see it. They could only reach the remote mountainous area by helicopter, which they described it as akin to finding a "Garden of Eden".
In a jungle camp site, surrounded by giant flowers and unknown plants, the researchers watched rare bowerbirds perform elaborate courtship rituals. The surrounding forest was full of strange mammals, such as tree kangaroos and spiny anteaters, which appeared totally unafraid, suggesting no previous contact with humans.
Forty species of mammals were recorded. Six species of tree kangeroos, rare elsewhere in New Guinea, were abundant and the scientists also found a species which is new to Indonesia, the golden-mantled tree kangeroo. The rare and almost unknown long-beaked echidna, or spiny anteater, a member of a primitive group of egg-laying mammals called monotremes, was also encountered. Like all the mammals found in the area, it was completely unafraid of humans and could be easily picked up, suggesting its previous contact with man was negligible.