It has hedgehog spines, an anteater’s snout and mole paws. In the mountains of Indonesia, scientists found a mountain echidna that was thought to be extinct. The recording of the walking animal was made on the last day of the month-long expedition.
The mountain echidna, whose Latin name was given in honor of the British naturalist Sir David Attenboough (Zaglossus attenboroughi), was photographed by a camera trap on the last day of a four-week expedition by scientists from the University of Oxford. In July this year, they traversed previously unexplored areas of the Cyclops Mountains in Indonesia.
Scientists placed 80 camera traps in areas above two thousand meters above sea level. Four three-second clips of the animal were recorded. These are the first photos of this species.
Scientists thought the echidna was extinct
So far, the only evidence of the animal’s existence were the remains of an individual seen in 1961, which are kept in the Dutch museum of natural history. The species was described in 1998. Features that distinguished this species from other echidnas were then identified.
Experts have since believed that the animal described as having an anteater’s snout, mole legs and spines hedgehog, is extinct. It is believed that they appeared on Earth during the times when dinosaurs lived. They are called living fossils.
“The whole team was euphoric”
– I was euphoric, the whole team was euphoric – said biologist James Kempton in an interview with BBC News, describing the moment he noticed the echidna on the recordings.
– I’m not joking when I say that we saw it on the last SD card from the last camera, on the last day of the expedition – he said.
Main photo source: Expedition Cyclops/Reuters