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Earth Science

Lost World of Fanged Frogs and Giant Rats 93

pilsner.urquell writes "40 previously unidentified species were discovered inside the crater of an extinct volcano on Papua New Guinea. The finds include a hairy caterpillar, an iridescent beetle, a striped possum, and what may be the world's largest rat — the size of a 'well-fed cat,' and showing no fear of man. The extinct volcano Mount Bosavi last erupted more than 200,000 years ago." There are also an audio interview with the expedition leader and a gallery with 15 photos of the new species.
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Lost World of Fanged Frogs and Giant Rats

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Here in the USA, we call those "lawyers". I've seen a few upside 'ah 300 lbs. You can't hunt 'em though :(.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @01:27AM (#29347391)

    The newly discovered Giant Rat was wiped out by a swarm of XP farmers.

  • Is there raptors in there? They are good for skinning and grinding on.
    Ah... fun times in Un'goro crater...
    • Is there raptors in there? They are good for skinning and grinding on.

      Ah... fun times in Un'goro crater...

      I wouldn't let you go dry-humping specimens on MY excavation site! Some people... *shakes head*

  • a place for all the level one warrior wannabes to gain experience.
    • Giant Rats are level 9. Jeez. All these n00bs who've never played Dungeon Master, and think they know something about RPGs ;)

      But seriously... give it a go. It's a very cool (abandonware) game when you get into it. The giant rats might not scare you much, but the giant scorpions, deathknights, and dragons will.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @01:30AM (#29347403)

    Jungle Spider []

    A quick google / wiki couldn't give me any deep information about a "jungle spider". Is that guy really holding an unknown species of spider with his bare hands? That's pretty ballsy.

    • by EdIII ( 1114411 ) * on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @02:41AM (#29347755)

      It is certainly foolish.

      I don't know why, but it reminds of an anecdote I heard quite some time ago. Well, anecdote is probably not the right word for it, but I will repeat anyways. I can't give credit to anyone, since I cannot remember where it was from in the first place.

      Two aliens come upon each other in their travels. They strike up a conversation which lasts for some time. The one alien notices a strange protrusion from its new acquaintance. Bulbous with a large amount of holes of varying size and shape. It asks, "Do you mind if I have sex with that?". The other alien says, "That's exactly what I said about two hundred years ago.".

      I guess you could call it more of cautionary tale than a moral one.

      • There's something about that story... It has a certain quality to it. What quality exactly? Ah yes, it's disturbingly bizarre.

        Though apropos.

      • ... don't have sex with bulbous protrusions on aliens?


      • by metlin ( 258108 ) on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @06:25AM (#29348987) Journal

        I believe that it's originally from Scott Adam's piece - "Life will NOT be like Star Trek" [].

        The original goes like this:

        Sex with Aliens

        According to Star Trek, there are many alien races populated with creatures who would like to have sex with humans. This would open up a lot of anatomical possibilities, but imagine the confusion. It's hard enough to have sex with human beings, much less humanoids. One wrong move and you're suddenly transported naked to the Gamma Quadrant to stand trial for who-knows-what. This could only add to performance anxiety. You would never be quite sure what moves would be sensual and what moves would be a galactic-sized mistake.

        Me Trying to Have Sex with an Alien

        Me: May I touch that?

        Alien: That is not an erogenous zone. It is a separate corporeal being that has been attached to my body for six hundred years.

        Me: It's cute. I wonder if it would let me have sex with it.

        Alien: That's exactly what I said six hundred years ago.

      • You don't need to go into space for sexual cautionary tales like that. For instance, if I recall correctly, there's a filipino tale about a guy who made love to a hole in a tree and became obsessed with it.

    • by Xest ( 935314 ) on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @04:50AM (#29348547)

      Probably, but you have to remember those well versed in the biology of certain species will know enough to know whether it's safe to deal with.

      I have spent a lot of time studying succulent plants, and whilst members of the Cactaceae family are non-toxic, some members of the Euphorbia family have evolved in a convergent manner such that they have the same features of cacti however have a toxic sap, which can burn the skin. If I encountered a new species of plant that was succulent and spined I know enough to be able to tell you whether you can or can't safely handle or drink it's sap.

      There's also the behavioural aspect in insects and animals such that they can be handled if you know how to handle them, and what the tell tale signs are to avoid them and avoid handling them.

      So between understanding the biological traits of a species that define it's capabilities, and understanding the stances and movements of a species, you can judge pretty well how safe a new, previously undescribed species is to handle, and in fact, you can know a lot more about it than you might realise at first.

  • that bacteria and/or viruses there also evolved separately and most humans are not immune to them? Shouldn't we quarantine the expedition team for a reasonable period of time after they got out?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Viruses tend to rely critically on their hosts' genome, so there really isn't any danger of a new lethal human virus: we are too different. Bacteria, on the other hand, is undoubtedly a living organism, so it's quite possible it is robust enough to nail our immune system. OTOH, it hasn't been exposed to any antibiotics, so infections would probably be highly treatable.
  • If I found a new species of spider, I sure wouldn't be letting it crawl around on my bare hand. I wouldn't want to be the first known victim of a new species.
  • The finds include a hairy caterpillar, an iridescent beetle, a striped possum, and what may be the world's largest rat

    Note to self, cancel all plans for a vacation on Mount Bosavi.
    • by bryguy5 ( 512759 )
      Don't worry. You have to get past the other common species in Papua New Guinea such as the the salt water crocodiles on the coast, the aggressive cassowary, huge insects such as the rhino beetles, and over 80 different species of poisonous snakes (most of them venomous). All before you get anywhere near Mount Bosavi.
  • by HW_Hack ( 1031622 ) on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @01:43AM (#29347481)

    I mean really - rodents of unusual size -- clearly a tag of Fire Swamp is required

  • Pristine Ecosystems (Score:4, Interesting)

    by zlel ( 736107 ) on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @02:07AM (#29347579) Homepage
    Do newly discovered ecosystems also represent new ecosystems of viruses, bacteria and diseases?
    • by bertoelcon ( 1557907 ) on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @02:21AM (#29347659)

      Do newly discovered ecosystems also represent new ecosystems of viruses, bacteria and diseases?

      IANAB* but, yeah they probably have new/different bacteria, viruses and diseases but most of those are probably tailored to the animals living there and aren't going to cause human problems until some mutations occur.

      * I am not a biologist.

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by magarity ( 164372 )

      viruses, bacteria and diseases?
      Great - As if I didn't worry about my health enough... now there are diseases IN ADDITION to viruses and bacteria.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Rogerborg ( 306625 )

        Perhaps ignorance is contagious?

        Aaargh, it's all over my face!

      • by itsanx ( 1534709 )
        Several diseases are related to nutrient defiency [], like scurvy []. These are certainly diseases in addition to viruses and bacteriae.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Prions, parasites, fungi, radiation, autoimmune, genetic, many kinds of chemicals. I probably missed a few.

        Have a nice day.

        • The joke here, that no one got, is that "disease" is caused by viral and/or bacterial infections. All these other things are "disorders" and other types of medical problems but are not diseases.

          • Well not according to Dorlands medical dictionary. Disease is a general term for infections, disorders etc. E.g. Coeliac disease Anyway even if you were right that disease==infections what about fungi, protozoa and other parasites?
    • Obviously, the only way to be safe is to nuke the whole crater from orbit.
  • A story i can sink my teeth into.
  • by blau ( 759804 ) on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @04:00AM (#29348285)
    Here... []
  • have died out of the world, for want of the strength to survive.

  • vulnerable (Score:4, Insightful)

    by apodyopsis ( 1048476 ) on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @04:19AM (#29348387)

    The first thing that crossed my mind is that all these species are localized to one particular area and hence rather vulnerable if the environment changes in any way.

    You only need to introduce 1 badly chosen predator and its the Stephens Island Wren all over again.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      One badly chosen predator, i.e. homo sapiens?

  • a.k.a.: "Wow, a new species, let's shoot it with a rifle and discover its @ss"
  • Favorite line in the video: "He's like a little puppy."

  • Why is the frog photographed with mouth closed? How are we supposed to see the fangs?

  • They'll learn.

  • Large rats (Score:3, Interesting)

    by aclarke ( 307017 ) <> on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @06:58AM (#29349125) Homepage
    This is slightly OT, but in high school in Kenya, some guy came by who was buying frozen rodents for dissection in American college biology classes. He was paying something like $0.50 or $1 per rodent. We got him as many bats as he could handle (which was less than we'd hoped for) but my friend put out a bounty out to the local community on rodents. He said he'd pay them something like $0.15 per rodent they brought him.

    I guess he didn't specify DEAD rodents so someone assumed he meant alive. According to the who brought the rat, he had his 4 year old son go into a hole and pull out a giant rat that was so big that it had to be folded up to fit in a shopping bag. My friend got this rat in the bag, which I saw. It was still alive, barely. My friend stopped the bounty at that point as he didn't want to be responsible for some kid getting seriously injured for $0.15.
  • To me the interesting piece of information was that 200,000 years in this new ecosystem causes such big changes. I'm not familiar with how well we know the timescales of other types of adaptation changes but now we know rats can become huge and beetles iridescent in less then 200k years.
  • I don't think they exist. *pounce*

  • There's bigger rats than that, and they aren't all that rare. They're widely distributed in North America, but tend to congregate in Ottawa and Washington in Parliament, the Senate and Congress.

  • "It was mind-blowing to be there and it is clearly time we pulled our finger out and decided these habitats are worth us saving," said Dr George McGavin who headed the expedition.

    What a great call to action for the world over... "pull your finger out" and get back to work!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Everyone here seems to be missing the an important part of TFA. Here's the paragraph with what I'm refering too, emphasis added on the important part:

    They found the three-kilometre wide crater populated by spectacular birds of paradise and in the absence of big cats and monkeys, which are found in the remote jungles of the Amazon and Sumatra, the main predators are giant monitor lizards while kangaroos have evolved to live in trees. New species include a camouflaged gecko, a fanged frog and a fish called t

  • Might be tricky to get the logging equipment in there.
  • and what may be the world's largest rat -- the size of a 'well-fed cat,' and showing no fear of man.

    Bigger than a capybara?

    I wonder how The Tick will respond to this revelation.

  • This is interesting to me. I'm sure there are places that no one has ever seen before that have species just waiting to be discovered. It is kind of exciting to me just wondering what else is out there. More and more species are being discovered every year and unfortunately more and more are becoming extinct as well. I think we should be making more of an effort to seek out new life and preserve the life we have now.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger