Wednesday, 25 February 2009
The Lost World on Google Earth
The mountainous area of northern Mozambique in southern Africa had been overlooked by science due to inhospitable terrain and decades of civil war in the country. However, while scrolling around on Google Earth, an internet map that allows the viewer to look at satellite images of anywhere on the globe, scientists discovered an unexpected patch of green.
Driving up to Mount Mabu - Photograph: Julian Bayliss/Kew
A British-led expedition was sent to see what was on the ground and found 7,000 hectares of forest, rich in biodiversity, known as Mount Mabu. In just three weeks, scientists led by a team from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew found hundreds of different plant species, birds, butterflies, monkeys and a new species of giant snake. The samples which the team took are now back in Britain for analysis. So far three new butterflies and one new species of snake have been discovered but it is believed there are at least two more new species of plants and perhaps more new insects to discover.
Jonathan Timberlake recording vegetation (Photograph: Tom Timberlake/Kew)
Hemipteran bug - Photograph: Julian Bayliss/Kew
Google Earth image of Mount Mabu. The coordinates are 16 degrees 17 min, 56 secs south and 36 degrees 23 mins 44secs east.
Pygmy chameleon (Rhampholeon sp.) - Photograph: Julian Bayliss/Kew
See here for the full article by Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent to the Daily Telegraph.
And here for some more images.