A new-to-science scorpion discovered on Penang Hill. Photo copyright 2017 Phil Torres/bioGraphic. This photo originally appeared in bioGraphic, an online magazine about nature and sustainability powered by the California Academy of Sciences.

From news.mongabay.com:

  • For the first time ever, scientists have surveyed the rainforest of Penang Hill comprehensively. The 130-million-year old forest is believed to have never been cut before and has remained largely unexplored.
  • Among the exciting discoveries is a potentially new species of “ghost” scorpion, and numerous first records for Penang Hill.
  • With a more complete understanding of the forests of Penang Hill, the scientists hope to nominate Penang’s forest as a UNESCO biosphere reserve…

The expedition produced an “extraordinary number of firsts,” Margaret D. Lowman, CAS’s Lindsay Chair of Botany and expedition leader, told Mongabay in an email. “This was an unprecedented whole-forest, and all-taxa BioBlitz by scientists, the majority of which were female.”

What was also surprising, Lowman added, was that “a rainforest so close to 1.5 million people was so pristine!”

Biologist Siti Azizah Mohd Nor of USM agreed. “It was certainly gratifying to obtain such good biodiversity records from an area of forest which is very close to human settlement and activity areas.”

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