60 Years Later, Camera Captures Rare ‘Living Mammal’ Thought To Be Extinct

A 200-year-old jungle creature that was believed to have died out was captured on camera in a ground-breaking discovery. The mammal in question is called egg-laying Attenborough’s long-beaked echidna, which is honourably named after famous broadcaster Sir David Attenborough. After its last spotting in 1961, the egg-laying mammals were thought to be extinct until new camera footage proved otherwise. The photographs in question were captured by a team of Oxford scientists who were on a four-week exploration expedition in one of the most unexplored regions of Indonesia. The photos and videos of the rediscovery were recorded on the remote trail of the Cyclops Mountains in Papua Province.

Here’s everything that you need to know about the rare discovery.

What is an echidna?

Attenborough’s long-beaked echidna is a monotreme that includes the platypus, as per the University of Oxford. The species are considered to be rare because they are one of the only five monotremes left on the planet. They are reportedly notoriously difficult to find because they live in burrows and tend to shy away. Adding more is the echidnas are nocturnal creatures. The team of Oxford scientists relentlessly worked with the local communities of Indonesia to deploy over 80 camera traps.

Fortunately, it was on the last day of their four-week expeditions that the experts discovered their photos. During an interaction with BBC, Oxford Biologist, Dr James Kempton revealed their whole team was extremely elated after the rediscovery. “I was euphoric, the whole team was euphoric,” the expert reportedly said of the event. He continued, “I’m not joking when I say it came down to the very last SD card that we looked at, from the very last camera that we collected, on the very last day of our expedition.”

Notably, Attenborough’s long-beaked echidna has never been found outside Indonesia’s Cyclops Mountains. It is also important to note that the monotreme species are currently classified on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as “Critically Endangered.” In the footage shared by the University of Oxford, the egg-laying mammal was spotted moving in the forest area at night. Take a look at the video here:

Besides Attenborough’s long-beaked echidna, scientists also uncovered a wealth of different species of spiders and beetles never seen before including a shrimp that lives on a tree.

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