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New Zealand Skink

Posted by: Loren Coleman on April 26th, 2007

New Zealand Skink

NEW DISCOVERY: A handful of never-before-seen lizards has been discovered in The Sinbad Valley, tucked away in a corner of Fiordland.

Skink discovery excites scientists

Hollywood has its dinosaur-infested lost islands, now one of New Zealand’s last unspoilt wildernesses can boast a few reptilian surprises of its own.

The Sinbad Valley, tucked away in a corner of Fiordland, has revealed a range of weird and wonderful new species over the years, including wetas and other insects.

But now a handful of never before seen lizards – distant relatives of dinosaurs – have set scientists’ pulses racing.

Landcare Research biologist Trent Bell went into the lost valley last month aiming to find a species first discovered by a group of rock climbers in 2004.

He returned with more than he bargained for – three previously unknown species of skink.

Many of the small lizards were found on rocky outcrops at high altitude, with some proving difficult to catch, including one goggle-eyed beast which had since been dubbed “the little Sinbad skink”.

“It was a funny-looking bugger, with huge eyes and big feet. I knew it was something not known to science.”

Bell said the discoveries were hugely important to science and work was now under way to identify the new species from photographs and DNA samples.

“The realisation that we’re dealing with a large, stocky and entirely new species has led us to question what else is out there in the alpine areas of Fiordland,” Bell said.

The Sinbad Valley runs alongside Milford Sound and until several years ago was home to the last kakapo naturally surviving on the Mainland.

Conservation Department Te Anau area acting manager Beth Masser said the Sinbad Valley was a deep basin carved out during the last Ice Age.

In the past 200 years it had proved difficult for invasive species to access, she said. Unique species had evolved in isolation and survived despite rats, stoats and other pests.The Dominion Post

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


7 Responses to “New Zealand Skink”

  1. Bob Michaels responds:

    Let`s keep those dirty rats out of the Island and maybe more new species can be discovered.

  2. fuzzy responds:

    Lizards, Bigfoot, black panthers, lake monsters, rock rats, archival documentation and illustrations, videos, rare rhinos, symposia, new publications, lawsuits, pterodactyls, coincidences, conspiracies, games, philosophies, crocs, mouflons, jokes, demons, movie storyboards, bogusities, talk radio, puns, mythic beasts, cartoons, commentaries and pizza… what a great Website!!

  3. Ceroill responds:

    Saw this in other newsfeed but this is the first picture I’ve seen. Thanks Loren.

  4. mystery_man responds:

    This is fascinating news and I, like Ceroill, hadn’t seen a picture either. I wonder what else is out there in Fiordland?

  5. DWA responds:

    If I saw a skink like the one pictured in my woodpile tomorrow I wouldn’t bat an eyelash.

    Why not a pic of the “goggle-eyed beast” with huge eyes and big feet that was so obviously “something not known to science”?

  6. youcantryreachingme responds:

    Isn’t this marvelous news? When I first photographed a side-barred skink in Nelson Bay (see the “dedicated to Steve Irwin” page on my website), I didn’t really know that much about skinks.

    I read up Ken Griffiths’ excellent guide to Sydney skinks, and felt challenged to photograph every skink species in the Sydney basin. I’ve been slowly working towards that goal ever since.

    Many of them are now on my site (under “Up close and personal”) but I have many more to go.

    The NZ skink depicted in the photo here looks very similar to the Blue Mountains water skink (at least to my very very amateur eyes!)

    I’d love to see the bug-eyed-bigfoot-skink though!! I’m surprised you didn’t title this article “Bigfoot captured in New Zealand!”, Loren! :)

  7. CrimsonFox79 responds:

    He’s a cutie! I am a nut for reptiles ^_^

    Makes me wonder how many undocumented species people see daily without realizing they are seeing something special?

    This skink doesn’t look like anything out of the ordinary to me, and if I saw him, the thought would never enter my head that it could be a undiscovered species.

    The little lizard I saw on a rock hiking a few years back could have, just as easily as this skink, been an undiscovered species- but to me he was just a cute little lizard and assumedly very common around the area. The thought never occurred to me “well maybe this species of lizard is undocumented! Let me get a photo and bring it for investigation!” I just simply admired him for a bit and continued my hike. Yes, he was more than likely a very common, documented species- but you get my point :)



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