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Last Updated: Tuesday February 07 2006 08:25 GMT

Many new species found in Papua

Smokey honey-eater bird
Loads of new animals and plants have been found by a team of scientists in an unexplored Indonesian jungle.

The international team say they've found 20 frog species, four butterfly species and at least five new types of palms in the Foja mountains in Papua.

"It's as close to the Garden of Eden as you're going to find on Earth," said Bruce Beehler, co-leader of the team.

He said they'd just scratched the surface of the forest, and he plans to return and carry on their research.

The new findings will have to be checked by other scientists.

The two-million acre site appears to be almost untouched by people, and even local tribes say they very rarely go into it.

One of the team's best discoveries was a honey-eater bird with a bright orange patch on its face - the first new bird species to be sighted in the area for more than 60 years.

The animals they saw also didn't seem to be very scared of people, and two Long-Beaked Echidnas, which are a type of egg-laying mammal, even let the team pick them up and take them back to camp.



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