Showing posts with label skink. Show all posts
Showing posts with label skink. Show all posts

New Ground Dwellers Found in Northern Australia

A large country with a low population has a lot to offer in regard to potential scientific discoveries. There are many places which individuals have not visited in a long, long time. Look around and there may be a few surprises.

Cape York and Cape Melville are virtual "lost worlds". New animals have been discovered by a team exploring the mountainous areas. New reptiles have been discovered that have to be given official names: a gold-colored skink and a leaf-tailed gecko. A new yellow, brown-spotted frog was also found. Frogs are amphibians, not reptiles, because they change from tadpoles into frogs.

Being mountainous and relatively inaccessible northern parts of Australia are pristine regions just waiting for visits from scientists. Though it gets very hot, mountain rainforest regions stay wet all year round, so rare species can survive for thousands of years. More intensive searches are planned for the near future.
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 Environment by Ty Buchanan
     Australian Blog                         

Ancient Marsupial Found With Specialised Teeth for Eating Snails

Evidence of the existence of specialised ancient marsupials have been found in Australia. They had teeth that were "hammer-like" for crushing snail shells. Lizards living today in rain forests have similar teeth. They had premolars like the teeth in humans located between the molars and canines. Researchers could not determine at first what the strange teeth were used for. It was the first time that such teeth had been found in marsupials.

Like the Tasmanian tiger a marsupial which filled the role of native dog in Australia, so this marsupial more than 10 million years ago, lived in the niche that the pink-tongued skink holds today. This wet rain forest lizard is quite large, about 40 cm in length, so it's ancestor would have been a tough competitor.

The extinct marsupial became extinct when the weather changed in Australia and inland rain forests receded toward the coast. Lizards could survive in the new environment. The marsupial could not.

Riversleigh in northern Australia, a rich source of marsupial fossils, was where the find was made. Indication are that the marsupial was not plentiful even in prehistoric times because so few fossils of the animal have been found.
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