On a remote mountain range, in a patch of rainforest isolated for millions of years, Australian scientists have discovered three previously unknown vertebrates, living in a place they are calling “a lost world”.
The trio – found in the mountains of Cape Melville, in far north-eastern Australia – include the leaf-tailed gecko, a relic from the Gondwanan era, when Australia was part of a “supercontinent” covered in rainforest.
Also identified by Dr Conrad Hoskin, from James Cook University, were a golden-coloured skink and a boulder-dwelling frog. All three are found only in that area, where black granite boulders are piled hundreds of metres high.
“These species are restricted to the upland rainforest and boulder fields of Cape Melville,” Dr Hoskin said. “They’ve been isolated for millennia, evolving into distinct species in their unique rocky environment.”