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A lost world discovered in Australia

It's not every day that a lost world is discovered sitting in your back garden, but that's pretty much what has happened in Australia. A team of scientists have found at Cape Melville, a part of Queensland that had been untouched by human feet. The James Cook University team have discovered an area of lush rain forest hosting a huge number of previously unknown species - species that have evolved separately from their more well known cousins.

The discovery was first made with Google Earth - a patch of lush green protected by huge impassable boulders "the size of houses and cars". The team, led by Dr. Conrad Hoskin, were only able to access the site via helicopter and as the first humans to lay foot on the land they were in awe at what they found.

Their initial discovery was the now-named 'blotched boulder frog' that has evolved to reproduce without the need for water - laying its eggs in a damp cracks, they develop not into tadpoles but fully formed baby frogs. Two further vertebrate species have since been found - the 'leaf tailed gecko' and the 'Cape Melville Shade skink'. The gecko has been described as the "strangest new species to come across my desk in 26 years working as a professional herpetologist" by Patrick Couper, Curator of Reptiles and Frogs at the Queensland Museum.image

EPA/Conrad Hoskins / James Cook Univ

So far the team have covered a 2km square section of the untouched rainforest - it extends for 15km in total so many more new finds are likely.

Source Telegraph / National Geographic

Lead image: Tim Laman, National Geographic

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