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New Fossils and Species Discoveries in Papua

by Senaman
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Papua is known for its beauty and very old islands, some fossils have even been found on the island of Papua, including Nautilus fossils, wood fossils, and marine fauna fossils. Nautilus fossils were found in the Khilbakame River and Khilnarkime River, Kelila District, Central Mamberamo Regency, Papua Province. This research shows that the Kelila area in the Middle Miocene period was previously a sea.

Wood fossils found in the hills west of Abar Village, Ebungfauw District, Jayapura Regency, Papua, are used as agate material. This wood fossil was found at an altitude of 162 MDPL and is in the form of a brown tree trunk with petrified wood fibers. Other marine fauna fossils were found in the Papua Mountains, which are thought to be part of the geological process that formed Lake Sentani millions of years ago. These fossils are similar to the soil layers where marine mollusk fossils were found in the Lake Emfote or Lake Love area.

Fossils of indigenous Papuans and Australians were also found in the limestone cave, Leang Panninge, which is relatively intact and buried in a limestone cave. Plant fossils, such as Papuacedrus, are also found in the tropical mountainous regions of Papua and link Patagonia with Papua and the Moluccas. The discovery of fossils in Papua has several important implications for science and history. Fossils found in Papua, such as wood fossils, Nautilus fossils, and fossils of indigenous Papuans and Australians, provide information about the geological and biological history of the region. The discovery of Nautilus fossils, for example, shows that the Kelila region in the Middle Miocene was previously a sea. Wood fossils found in the hills of Kampung Abar, Ebungfauw District, Jayapura Regency, Papua, are about 15 million years old and suggest that the area was once part of the geological process that formed Lake Sentani millions of years ago. Fossils of indigenous Papuans and Australians found in the Cretaceous Cave, Leang Panninge, also provide information about the culture and life of the Toalean people who have a tradition of hunting and living in groups. Fossil discoveries in Papua expand knowledge about the history and geology of the region and contribute to the development of science and history.

A Long-Eared Echidna named after Sir David Attenborough and last seen by scientists in 1961 has been photographed for the first time in the tropical forests of Indonesia. An international team of researchers worked with local communities to set up more than 80 camera traps to record the elusive animal. In addition to rediscovering the echidna, the team also discovered many species new to science. These included beetles, spiders, and an amazing species of tree-dwelling shrimp. More than sixty years after it was last recorded, expedition teams have rediscovered the iconic mammal laying eggs in one of the world’s most unexplored regions. 

Attenborough’s long-beaked echidna, named after renowned host Sir David Attenborough, was captured for the first time in photographs and video footage using remote trail cameras set up in the Cyclops Mountains, Papua Province, Indonesia. The rediscovery of the child was made possible by an expedition in partnership between Oxford University, Indonesian NGO Yayasan Pelayanan Papua Nenda (YAPPENDA), Universitas Cendrawasih (UNCEN), BBKSDA Papua, the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), and Re: Wild. 

The research team discovered many other remarkable findings during the expedition. These included the Mayr honey-eater, a bird not seen since 2008; a completely new genus of tree-dwelling shrimp; many new insect species; and previously unknown cave systems. While many challenges were posed by the inhospitable terrain, there were also many challenges in the form of venomous animals, blood-sucking leeches, malaria, earthquakes, and grueling heat. However, many discoveries were made. The most exciting of these discoveries was that the world’s most unusual mammal was finally captured on film. 

Attenborough’s long-beaked echidna is a Monotremata, an evolutionarily distinct group of egg-laying mammals, including the platypus, first discovered in 1961. Among the five extant species of monotremes, this species of echidna is the only one still maintaining a branch of the remarkable tree of life. Ekidnas are notoriously difficult to find as they live in burrows, are nocturnal, and are usually very shy. Outside of the Cyclops Mountains, Attenborough’s long-beaked echidna has never been recorded. On the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, it is categorized as Critically Endangered. To locate it properly, the team used more than 80 trail cameras, and multiple mountain climbs, and climbed more than 11,000 meters. The team did not see the echidna for almost four weeks in the forest.

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