Posted by: r.m. | October 29, 2013

Discovering new species…and destroying a biodiversity hotspot

Some of the news from today…

*Scientists have found three new vertebrate species isolated for millions of years in a rainforest in far north Queensland –A leaf-tail gecko, a golden-coloured skink and a boulder-dwelling frog are three new species discovered in a “lost world” in northern Queensland

Previously unknown humpback dolphin species identified

Meanwhile, while new species are being discovered – and their magic unearthed – massive destruction is underway, for the pursuit of greed and profit.

* Destruction of Peru’s rainforest by illegal gold mining is twice as bad as experts thought


The destruction of a global biodiversity hotspot deep in the Peruvian Amazon by illegal gold mining is twice as bad as previously thought, an authoritative new study using ground-breaking technology has revealed.

According to the report by the  US-based Carnegie Institution for Science, 15,810 acres of rainforest in Peru’s Madre de Dios region, home to various nature and indigenous reserves as well as a booming  eco-tourism industry, have vanished per year since the start of the 2008 global economic crisis.


Although the Carnegie research detailed only the amount of deforestation directly caused by the mining, the impact on the Amazon, and its people, is thought to be far greater. That is due largely to the tons of mercury used to extract the gold; it now permeates the water table and accumulates in the bodies of fish, which are a staple of jungle populations. Local people, including children, have now been found to have unhealthy levels of the element in their blood.



  1. It doesn’t surprise me that all these species are being discovered in Australia. Being an area separate from the rest of the world would allow the creatures in that region to evolve separately, and would limit immigration/emigration there. And so, you’d get entirely new species found nowhere else on the planet.
    That golden Cape Melville shade skink (Saproscincus saltus) is pretty fascinating. It looks like a snake with limbs.
    It’s great news that they’re willing to consider each species of humpback dolphins separately, in order to provide each species with its very own needs instead of just generalizing.

    As for the gold mining in Peru, the best way to describe it is: tragic. Species are now endangered, people are suffering form mercury poisoning, ecotourism is damaged and the rain forests are hurt, just because a few greedy (bad word) are willing to risk everyone else’s safety for the sake of their pockets! But this problem is not just limited to Peru; this is going on everywhere.

  2. About the gold mining in Peru:
    In gold we trust!!
    Man is so greedy that he would kill another human if there was gold in his body. Unfortunately, these are humans; created by God and directed by Gold.

  3. A huge frustration is cause by the issue addressed in the article. While scientists spend a fortune of effort and money to uncover a handful species, the irresponsible acts of other humans bring to end habitats that accommodate hundreds of species subjecting them to the danger of extinction. Rainforests are known to being both of great diversity and of greater vulnerability which poses the dilemma we are currently facing. Moreover, many habitats act like a buffer upon the action of human greed on them yet rainforests get easily damaged by the greed of the human beings threatening the biodiversity of the universe as a whole.

  4. Jad Ghantous Biol207
    It does not surprise me to hear that people are still discovering new species of biological organisms. The earth after all is a vast area of biodiversity from the highest of its terrestrial altitudes to its deepest sea bodies. It is just a shame for these newly discovered species to become extinct because of our actions with regards to the environment. Awareness should be set to save the earth so we can keep on discovering more life forms and expanding our research in the name of science.
    In regards to Peru, people soon should realize how valuable the Amazon is to our world and how mining and other polluting methods harm the earth directly and us directly and indirectly by various ways.

  5. Jina Shammas (Biol207)
    In spite all the beauty found around us, we’ve grown more reckless and greedy. We fail to appreciate a glamorous world God has bestowed upon us. All we do is try to bury this splendid work of art and destroy its magic with all our selfish actions. Beautiful creatures with unique adaptations , like the golden cape Melville shade skinks and humpback dolphins happen to live on our planet. Some have a special camouflage, distinctive size and fascinating hunting skills, like gecko found in Australia. Sadly enough, in the name of gold and money, man is ready not only to ravage his environment but also to kill such innocent creatures and living organisms.

  6. Aida Metri BIOL207

    “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”. This just proves to us how many undiscovered animals we still have surrounding us, and the sad part is if humans keep going down the path they are moving on, we never will discover them because they will get extinct before we get the chance. Scientists discovered the amazing “Cape Melville leaf-tailed gecko (Saltuarius eximius)” which camouflages in dimly lit boulder fields. Cape Melville shade skink (Saproscincus saltus), blotched boulder-frog (Cophixalus petrophilus) were also found.

    Dolphins are simply amazing. Imagine finding a new species of humpback dolphins but finding out they are in danger. “Some species may be threatened by fishing in coastal waters, while others are more vulnerable to invasion of their habitats.” These amazing species are being harmed by human caused matters which is really just a shame.

    “Destruction of Peru’s rainforest by illegal gold mining is twice as bad as experts thought”. Imagine something as wonderful as a rainforest is being destroyed by the human greed. The greed started as needing a living but now its just the want to get richer. They are damaging the whole forest, but just like the damages that are getting bigger, so is there greed.

    Its really shameful to see such amazing things that are part of our natural world being destroyed by such horrible humans. Hopefully they will put a stop to this nonsense before its too late.

  7. While new species are being discovered, such as the leaf-tail gecko, golden-coloured skink and boulder-dwelling frog, many are getting extinct (according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature as many as half of all species of primates, specially gorillas and chimpanzees, are in danger of extinction). Definitely, there are still many unknown species. Hopefully, they can discover them on time before they become extinct. It’s awful how people can destroy the most amazing creatures on earth so easily and without any regret. They are killing living things and taking advantage from them to benefit them selves. No matter the price to pay, as long as they are making money, they will keep on devastating the ecosystem. It’s really disappointing how humans can be so ignorant and fool. They don’t care how many trees need to be cut and how many habitats need to be destroyed, as long as they are getting wat they need. Humans are very smart, but unfortunately they only use their intelligence on stuff that suits them. However, if they continue like that, the natural resources will come to an end. What will they do next? Without plants, trees, animals, and all the biodiversity, humans cannot exist. We depend on them to survive. When humans destroy them, they are actually destroying their own race. I can’t believe that they are not realizing that, most probably they just don’t want to. Deforestation, illegal mining, gas emission, urbanization, and hunting are destroying our planet, letting the nature revenge it self by causing natural disasters. We still have water available, but what about the next generations? There’s still time to save what is left. However, we need to act fast and let people be aware, raise campaigns against deforestation, protect natural reserves, decrease pollution, and so on.

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