Just when you thought there wasn’t anything else in the world to discover, scientists prove you wrong.
In the crater of a volcano in Papua New Guinea, scientists and explorers have found an ecosystem that has evolved in complete isolation for 200,000 years.
Animals and plant life within this ecosystem have evolved in an interesting and albeit strange way. In most rain forests, larger predators, such as primates and large cats, have kept the prey population down with few variations in the species. In this new location, however, the largest predators are giant monitor lizards. Therefore, many species of frogs, fish, and vermin have been able to develop differently since they are not being stifled by faster and more cunning predators.
According to Guardian reporter Robert Booth, 16 new species of frogs have been discovered by biologist during the five-week exploration of the region. Furthermore, a new bat has been discovered, as well as three new types of fish and even a giant rat.
Of these new species of animals, some are getting more press coverage than others. For instance, one of the new frog species has fangs. Also, scientists have found a grunting fish, which they’ve named the Henamo grunter. Apparently its swim bladder makes grunt like noises.
Scientist reported that many of these animals, especially the giant woolly rat, weren’t afraid of humans. Since they’ve been isolated they have no reason to fear us, but that sense of trust may change sooner than not.
This newly discovered rain forest, along with most of the world’s rain forests, are in jeopardy. Humans are constantly encroaching on these animals’ environments, therefore limiting each animal’s natural resources. According to recent studies, rain forests in Papua New Guinea are destroyed by a rate of 3.5% yearly.
We as humans have the right to exist and thrive just like any other animal, but that doesn’t give us the right to continually destroy whole regions. We wouldn’t want big businesses to knock down our homes to build a new mini mall, so why should we knock down the homes of other creatures?
Conservation involves careful planning and compromise. Before we go demolish any habitat, rain forest or otherwise, we should ask why we are doing these actions. Is it for natural resources? To erect a new building? To create more homes? Next we would need to establish the impact of our choices. Likewise we need to examine alternatives that provide solutions that are beneficial to all parties, not just our own.
The more we act rashly and destroy places just because we can, or just because we want certain resources, the more we destroy creatures and organisms who, like us, are just trying to get through the day. We can’t save everything, true, but that doesn’t mean we should destroy everything either.