NewsScientists make a significant discovery: Species seen after 60 years

Scientists make a significant discovery: Species seen after 60 years

After 60 years, an unusual hedgehog was noticed.
After 60 years, an unusual hedgehog was noticed.
Images source: © BBC, X
12:40 PM EST, November 12, 2023

The Long-beaked Echidna, a species thought to be extinct, has been spotted on an Indonesian island. This is a significant discovery, since the echidna is one of only two mammals known to lay eggs.

The Attenborough's Long-beaked Echidna, considered a living fossil, appeared on Earth in the era of the dinosaurs. Aside from the Australian platypus, it is the only mammal that lays eggs. The species was named after Sir David Attenborough, a renowned British naturalist, science advocate, and writer.

A presumed extinct species seen once more

The Echidna was last seen in 1961. Until now, only a preserved skin of the animal had found its way to scientists for investigation. Recently, researchers from Oxford University were able to film the creature wandering around the Indonesian section of Papua.

"I was euphoric, the whole team was euphoric. So far, the only proof of the existence of this particular species, Zaglossus attenboroughi, was a museum specimen of a dead animal from several decades ago," Dr. James Kempton told BBC.

It took the combined efforts of a team of scientists from Great Britain and Indonesia four weeks to find the Echidna. They used as many as 80 camera traps during this period. Only on the final day, with the last memory card from the journey, did they manage to record the presumed extinct creature.

"The discovery is the result of hard work and over three and a half years of planning," added Kempton.

The team largely relied on local community insights, which helped them navigate the challenging terrain and access areas regarded as sacred. Dr. Kempton informed Sir David Attenborough about the unique footage, who was reported to be "absolutely delighted" with the discovery.

The Echidna wasn't the only discovery made during the expedition. The scientists also identified new species of frogs and insects, and observed thriving populations of Tree Kangaroos and birds of paradise.

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