What do you find when you travel deep into a remote area of Australia? Three animal species new to science — a gecko, a skink and a frog — plus a host of “other interesting species” and millions of black granite boulders, some the size of cars and houses.
That’s what scientist Conrad Hoskin, a postdoctoral fellow at James Cook University in Queensland, discovered when he went trekking with National Geographic photographer Tim Laman (who also happens to be a Harvard University researcher) this past March.
“Finding three new, obviously distinct vertebrates would be surprising enough in somewhere poorly explored like New Guinea, let alone in Australia, a country we think we’ve explored pretty well,” Hoskin said in a news release. Hoskin named the three new animals, an account of which will appear in the October issue of the peer-reviewed journal Zootaxa.
The new frog species discovered by scientists in a remote part of Australia. (Tim Laman/National Geographic)
For Hoskin, the highlight was the leaf-tailed gecko, which he named Saltuarius eximius. This creature hides in the area’s giant boulders by day. By night, it hunts, waiting silently to pounce on unsuspecting insects and spiders. It has huge eyes (likely adapted to help it see in and around the boulders) and a longer body and limbs than the six other geckos in its genus, according to the Zootaxa article about the species.
The frog, called the Blotched Boulder-frog (Cophixalus petrophilus), lives only in the boulder fields of Cape Melville, staying tucked away in the cool, dark boulders until it rains. Then it comes to the surface to eat and breed. “You might wonder how a frog’s tadpoles can live in a ‘hollow’ boulder-field with no water sitting around,” Hoskin said. “The answer is that the eggs are laid in moist rock cracks and the tadpoles develop within the eggs, guarded by the male, until fully formed froglets hatch out.”
The third species, a skink — a secretive type of ground-dwelling lizard — called Saproscincussaltushas unique color patterns and longer limbs and digits than the 11 other previously described skink species, according to the Zootaxa article.
“The top of Cape Melville is a lost world,” Hoskin said. “Finding these new species up there is the discovery of a lifetime. I’m still amazed and buzzing from it.”
A new lake effect snowstorm is pummeling snow-weary Buffalo, New York once again, where over a foot of new snow has fallen over regions that received five feet of snow on Tuesday. A persistent band of heavy snow coming off of the relatively warm waters of Lake Erie has settled over the southern and eastern suburbs of Buffalo, delivering prodigious snows of 3 - 5" per hour.
This past week some exceptional snowfall amounts were reported in northern Wisconsin (50.1” at Gile) and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (42.5” at Ishpeming 7 NNW) largely the result of some intense lake-effect snow squalls coming off Lake Superior. The accumulations occurred over approximately a 96-hour period from November 11-14. Amazing as these totals were they couldn’t compare to the official U.S. record of 75.8” at Silver Lake, Colorado in 24 hours on April 14-15, 1921, or another contender for such: the 78” at Mile 47 Camp in Alaska on February 7, 1963.UPDATE: An amazing 65" of snow, almost all, if not all, of this occurred between 10 p.m. Nov. 17 and 10 p.m. Nov. 18 at a site(s) just south and east of Buffalo. These snow depth reports are not 'official' but are obviously accurate given the video and photographic evidence.
This is a live blog set up to provide the latest coverage on Hurricane Arthur as it threatens the North Carolina Coast. Check back often to see what the latest is with Arthur. The most recent updates are at the top.
Here is some basic, fundamental terminology related to tropical cyclones. Rather than a comprehensive and/or technical glossary, this represents the essence of the meaning & importance of some key, frequently used terms.
Melting permafrost has the potential to release an additional 1.5 trillion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, and could increase our global average temperature by 1.5°F in addition to our day-to-day human emissions. However, this effect is not included in the IPCC report issued Friday morning, which means the estimates of how Earth's climate will change are likely on the conservative side.