A new lizard species is discovered recently in Borneo by a researcher while conducting field research. More than 15 years of fieldwork experience has helped Austin confirm immediately that he discovered a very new species!
Chris Austin, assistant curator of herpetology at LSU’s Museum of Natural Science, or LSUMNS, and adjunct professor in biological sciences, who made the discovery said,
We actually found four specimens at once. One of the best methods for finding lizards in the rainforest is to look under logs. We found two individuals of the new species under one log and two more under another.
Distinguishable from its closest cousin, the new species is a type of ‘skink’ generally found in the southern Philippines, in several distinct ways like —
*different color patterns,
* its structure, or morphology;
* differences in scale count, which is one of the basic ways scientists distinguish between species;
* and significant genetic variations.
These traits helped to confirm the original hypothesis that — the found lizard was an entirely new species!
Determining that a species is new to science is a long and laborious process. Natural history museums and their invaluable collections are critical in that they allow scientists to examine known biodiversity in order to determine a species is new.
Image Credit: Dr. Chris Austin / courtesy of Louisiana State University