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Natural World

New monitor lizard found on remote island

February 27, 2016 | Comment icon 8 comments



The lizard differs from other known species of monitor lizard. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 yeowatzup
A previously undiscovered species of monitor lizard has been found on the Pacific island of Mussau.
Measuring up to 3ft long and with distinctive yellow and orange markings, this unique species of reptile is thought to have been cut off from others of its kind for up to two million years.

Being at the top of the food chain and with the island being uninhabited by humans, the lizard has managed to thrive in its isolation and is now unlike any other monitor lizard species on the planet.
Finland graduate student Valter Weijola, who headed up the team who discovered the animal, has described the species as a "biogeographical oddity".

"Isolation is the keyword here," he said. "It is what has driven speciation and made the South-Pacific region one of the World’s biodiversity hotspots."

"For anything to arrive on Mussau (from New Guinea or New Britain) it would need to cross 250-350 kilometers of open sea, and this doesn’t happen frequently. So, once the ancestor arrived, perhaps in the form of a gravid female, the population must have been completely isolated."

Source: Discovery News | Comments (8)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by freetoroam 6 years ago
As long as some property developers do not decide to build hotels for "the lizard tour" all over the island, then these lizards will have a chance of survival for a another 2 million years.
Comment icon #2 Posted by WolvenHeart7 6 years ago
Now that we've found them As long as some property developers do not decide to build hotels for "the lizard tour" all over the island, then these lizards will have a chance of survival for a another 2 million years. We can only hope..We tend to be a scourge to every other thing on this planet.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Hawkin 6 years ago
This goes to show that even in our modern world their are species of animals that remain undiscovered. These unconfirmed sightings of animal species might mean something.
Comment icon #4 Posted by qxcontinuum 6 years ago
As long as some property developers do not decide to build hotels for "the lizard tour" all over the island, then these lizards will have a chance of survival for a another 2 million years. not a dimmed chance. Capitalism is to capitalize the world.
Comment icon #5 Posted by AustinHinton 6 years ago
As long as some property developers do not decide to build hotels for "the lizard tour" all over the island, then these lizards will have a chance of survival for a another 2 million years. What? And miss out on the chance to capitalize on a tour to see a new species? C'mon, our species loves it some tourist traps. Monitor lizards, fun for the whole family!
Comment icon #6 Posted by freetoroam 6 years ago
What? And miss out on the chance to capitalize on a tour to see a new species? C'mon, our species loves it some tourist traps. Monitor lizards, fun for the whole family! Hmmm AustinHinton, something tells me you have already booked a spot for your lizard memorabilia stall = lizard handbags, lizard sun glasses, lizard postcards, "I walked with a monitor lizard" t.shirt and I love monitor lizard keyrings. And not forgetting = I met the queen of England's cousins. all made in China.
Comment icon #7 Posted by AustinHinton 6 years ago
Hmmm AustinHinton, something tells me you have already booked a spot for your lizard memorabilia stall = lizard handbags, lizard sun glasses, lizard postcards, "I walked with a monitor lizard" t.shirt and I love monitor lizard keyrings. And not forgetting = I met the queen of England's cousins. all made in China. Nope! I am just making predictions based on our species past behavior.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Daniel S 4 years ago
Will there be updates about this? I hope humans stay away from that place. How beautiful it would be if those can live in peace. Lizards are scared towards humans, it's just dumb to make that into an attraction or where scientists study them.


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