Scientists have discovered a new species of cave fish which has developed without eyes or pigmentation in Indonesia’s eastern Papua area.
"This is, to our knowledge, the first cave fish that has been discovered in Papua," scientist Laurent Pouyaud told the AFP news agency.
Pouyaud and a team of researchers from the Institute of Research and Development in southern France, studied underground rivers, caves and jungles in an isolated region of New Guinea island.
A new species of frog that carries its offspring on its back was also discovered in the vast limestone “labyrinth.”
Archaeologists were also part of the team and they were bewildered to find cave paintings and tools made of shell from over 40,000 years ago. They believe this is further evidence of the ancient migration of people from Asia to the Australian continent.
The research was "the first step" in an ongoing project to study the region's biodiversity in conjunction with the Indonesian maritime affairs ministry and Institute of Sciences.
Papua's biodiversity is at risk from plans to expand plantations and mining operations in the area, Pouyaud said.