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First Sighting of Attenborough’s Mammal in 60 Years

An international team of researchers discovered an Attenborough’s long-beaked echidna in Indonesia, marking the first sighting of the animal in 60 years.

The find was announced by Britain’s University of Oxford on Friday. Echidnas are egg-laying mammals that diverged from other mammals 200 million years ago.

Named after British naturalist and documentarian David Attenborough, the Attenborough’s long-beaked echidna was originally discovered in 1961.

“Attenborough’s long-beaked echidna has the spines of a hedgehog, the snout of an anteater and the feet of a mole,” explained Oxford biologist James Kempton in the university’s release.

The researchers captured the echidna on video for the first time using cameras placed in the Cyclops Mountains in Indonesia’s West Papua province, confirming that it had not gone extinct. The team had to use 80 trail cameras to locate the nocturnal, burrowing creature.

In addition to the echidna, the team also found a species of honeyeater bird that had been rediscovered and identified a new species of land-dwelling shrimp in the West Papuan rainforest.

“We were quite surprised to discover this shrimp in the heart of the forest, as it is a significant deviation from the typical seaside habitat for these animals. We believe that the high level of rainfall in the Cyclops Mountains allows for enough humidity for these creatures to live entirely on land,” commented Leonidas-Romanos Davranoglou, a fellow at Oxford’s Museum of Natural History, in the release.

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