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New animal species discovered in Papua New Guinea

IANS  |  Sydney 

Australian scientists have uncovered several new species of mammals in the remote forests of Papua New Guinea (PNG), media reported Wednesday.

Team leader Euan Ritchie, an ecologist from Melbourne's Deakin University, said 40 cameras were installed in the Torricelli mountain range in the remote north-west of Papua New Guinea to capture the first images of endangered tree kangaroos but in the process they have also discovered three new species of previously unidentified mammals, according to Xinhua.

"We certainly got an image of what we think is a new species of sort of small kangaroo, dorcopsulus wallaby. Think small dog-size wallaby if you like," Ritchie told the ABC.

"There's also things like bandicoots and rodents that don't appear to be in any of the books that we know about."

"To actually confirm that of course we'll have to go back there one day and actually catch these animals and get them in the hand and take measurements and DNA samples. So that's for further down the track," said the scientist.

"But there's a whole range of species that are almost certain to be new to science and that are also new to that region."

Ritchie said Papua New Guinea's forests were rich with wildlife and home to hundreds of new species.

"There's a whole range, probably hundreds and hundreds of species, not just in mammals but the birds, the insects, all sorts of species that are probably unknown to Western science," he said.

"We've really got to preserve those habitats because they're really valuable."

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First Published: Wed, June 25 2014. 14:26 IST
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