Explorers find species that are thought to have died out amid the ancient ruins of Honduras

Explorers who penetrate deep into the rain forest of Mosquitia in Honduras have rediscovered species that were thought to have died out in ancient ruins known as the & # 39; Lost City of the Monkey God & # 39 ;.

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The three-week mission, carried out by a team of scientists led by Conservation International& # 39; s Rapid Assessment Program, discovered a true ecological treasure house in the hidden ruins, scientists announced on Thursday.

The three rediscovered species that were thought to be extinct are:

  • The Pale bat, which has not been reported in Honduras for more than 75 years
  • The False tree coral snake, which has not been reported in Honduras since 1965
  • A tiger beetle, which was only registered in Nicaragua and thought to be extinct

& # 39; Our team of scientists was shocked by the discovery of an enormously rich biodiversity, including many rare and endangered species, & # 39 ;, said Trond Larsen, director of the Rapid Assessment Program of Conservation International, in a statement.

The pale bat (Phylloderma stenops) was rediscovered during this investigation after more than 75 years since it was last documented in Honduras in 1942. These bats live near streams where they feed on fruit and insects

The pale bat (Phylloderma stenops) was rediscovered during this investigation after more than 75 years since it was last documented in Honduras in 1942. These bats live near streams where they feed on fruit and insects

The False Tree Coral Snake, not reported in Honduras since 1965, was rediscovered during the mission

The False Tree Coral Snake, not reported in Honduras since 1965, was rediscovered during the mission

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The False Tree Coral Snake, not reported in Honduras since 1965, was rediscovered during the mission

The Great Curassow is exhausted by hunting in most parts of its range, but often occurs in Ciudad del Jaguar

The Great Curassow is exhausted by hunting in most parts of its range, but often occurs in Ciudad del Jaguar

The Great Curassow is exhausted by hunting in most parts of its range, but often occurs in Ciudad del Jaguar

The dense jungle around the ancient ruins turned out to be full of rare and unknown species

The dense jungle around the ancient ruins turned out to be full of rare and unknown species

The dense jungle around the ancient ruins turned out to be full of rare and unknown species

The lost city of the monkey god was found in the jungle of La Mosquitia, a dense rainforest that runs from Honduras to Nicaragua, in Central America

The lost city of the monkey god was found in the jungle of La Mosquitia, a dense rainforest that runs from Honduras to Nicaragua, in Central America

The lost city of the monkey god was found in the jungle of La Mosquitia, a dense rainforest that runs from Honduras to Nicaragua, in Central America

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Larsen called the site & # 39; one of the few areas left in Central America where ecological and evolutionary processes remain intact & # 39 ;.

For hundreds of years, local rumors among tribes and Spanish explorers had spoken of a city full of treasures lost somewhere in the jungle of Mosquita.

The site, called & # 39; Lost City of the Monkey God & # 39 ;, is the subject of a movie and book of the same name and was hidden for centuries in a remote valley, guarded on all sides by steep ridges, in one of the densest in the world. jungles.

After centuries of local legends and fruitless jungle tours, the incredible old site – untouched for more than 600 years – was first discovered by a group of intrepid explorers in 2015.

The latest expedition to catalog the site's incredible biodiversity has discovered 22 species that have never been registered in Honduras before, and many, such as the Great Green Macaw, that are endangered or extremely rare.

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The researchers were also surprised to discover a poetic fish that was kept alive, a molly fish that seems to be new to science.

Three individuals from a living poecilia fish called molly (Poecilia sp.) Appear to represent a species new to science

Three individuals from a living poecilia fish called molly (Poecilia sp.) Appear to represent a species new to science

Three individuals from a living poecilia fish called molly (Poecilia sp.) Appear to represent a species new to science

A freshwater crab takes a defensive stance. Crabs were observed with a diameter of the shield up to 10 cm and some small shrimps were seen overnight

A freshwater crab takes a defensive stance. Crabs were observed with a diameter of the shield up to 10 cm and some small shrimps were seen overnight

A freshwater crab takes a defensive stance. Crabs were observed with a diameter of the shield up to 10 cm and some small shrimps were seen overnight

A male Harlequin beetle (Acrocinus longimanus) is climbing a tree. Males of the species have extremely long forelegs
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A male Harlequin beetle (Acrocinus longimanus) is climbing a tree. Males of the species have extremely long forelegs

A male Harlequin beetle (Acrocinus longimanus) is climbing a tree. Males of the species have extremely long forelegs

246 species of butterflies and moths were documented including the morpho butterfly Morpho helenor (above)

246 species of butterflies and moths were documented including the morpho butterfly Morpho helenor (above)

246 species of butterflies and moths were documented including the morpho butterfly Morpho helenor (above)

The salamander Bolitoglossa mexicana is an excellent climber and is usually found in trees and shrubs

The salamander Bolitoglossa mexicana is an excellent climber and is usually found in trees and shrubs

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The salamander Bolitoglossa mexicana is an excellent climber and is usually found in trees and shrubs

Also cataloged was a thriving population of witlip peccaries, a pig-like species that is extremely susceptible to deforestation and degradation, and is no longer found in much of Central America because they need large areas of intact forests to survive.

The abundance of peccaries and other prey species support a complete community of carnivores, including large cats such as jaguar and puma. The scientists say that there are only a few places that house this full spectrum of species where intact ecological connections maintain a healthy, balanced ecosystem.

In total, the team documented 246 species of butterflies and moths, 30 bats, 57 amphibians and reptiles, as well as numerous plants, fish, mammals, and insects.

They have also documented 58 species of plants that have been used extensively by humans, and observed species typically associated with pre-Hispanic settlements in Mesoamerica, such as cacao and cacao de monte.

& # 39; In general, our findings show that the area is of both global environmental and archaeological significance, & # 39 ;, Larsen said.

Larsen emphasized the importance of protecting and preserving the site and calling it a & # 39; critical ecosystem & # 39 ;.

Jaguars are the top predator here, keeping the ecosystem in balance by limiting prey species

Jaguars are the top predator here, keeping the ecosystem in balance by limiting prey species

Jaguars are the top predator here, keeping the ecosystem in balance by limiting prey species

White Peccaries lips, representing an important prey for jaguars. When they are startled or threatened, they produce loud barking and chattering noises with their teeth

White Peccaries lips, representing an important prey for jaguars. When they are startled or threatened, they produce loud barking and chattering noises with their teeth

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White Peccaries lips, representing an important prey for jaguars. When they are startled or threatened, they produce loud barking and chattering noises with their teeth

A snake neck (Oxybelis brevirostris) takes a threatening screen with its gaping mouth ready to bite

A snake neck (Oxybelis brevirostris) takes a threatening screen with its gaping mouth ready to bite

A snake neck (Oxybelis brevirostris) takes a threatening screen with its gaping mouth ready to bite

A variety of praying mantis species were observed, several of which were attracted to light falls

A variety of praying mantis species were observed, several of which were attracted to light falls

A variety of praying mantis species were observed, several of which were attracted to light falls

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Dr. John Polisar, coordinator of the Jaguar program of the Wildlife Conservation Society and member of the RAP expedition team said: "We have been doing fieldwork in the indigenous areas of La Moskitia for 14 years, and this site stood out as simply stunning. & # 39;

& # 39; But what really stood out was the very complete collection of native large mammals, something that was becoming too rare in this region & # 39; s, & # 39; Polisar continued.

& # 39; Due to the current intact forests and fauna, the area has an exceptionally high conservation value. It deserves an energetic and vigilant protection, so that the beauty and wildlife live in the future. "

The expedition was commissioned by Bill and Laurie Benenson, along with explorer Steve Elkins, who led the original search for and discovery of the archaeological site, and the support of the President of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández.

In light of the archaeological and scientific findings, President Hernández has initiated the Kaha Kamasa Foundation to promote ongoing scientific research and to monitor and protect the rainforest around the archaeological sites in the & # 39; Lost City of the Monkey God & # 39 ; to improve,

LOST CITY OF THE MONKEY GOD

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For hundreds of years, local rumors among tribes and Spanish explorers have spoken of a city full of treasures lost somewhere in the jungle of Mosquita in Honduras.

The city is supposed to be the home of a rich civilization that suddenly disappeared after a & # 39; curse & # 39; destroyed the area about 600 years ago.

Historians have speculated that the & # 39; curse & # 39; was, in fact, a series of diseases carried by colonialists from Europe.

Some people call it the White City of Gold, ivory temples filled with treasures described in ancient texts – and Western explorers first referred to it from the conquistador Hernando Cortes to King Charles V of Spain in 1526.

Since then, countless adventurers have searched the jungle for ancient civilization.

One of those adventurers suggested that the city was in fact known as the White City of the Monkey God.

Theodore Morde, who wrote about his adventures in the American magazine The American Weekly, said that local tribes told him about monkey-worshiping civilization.

He said the locals told him that a & # 39; monkey god & # 39; from the old town kidnapped a local woman and bred half-human, half-chimpanzee children. The children were subsequently hunted for revenge.

Local tribes have reportedly told the same story to an anthropologist, according to a report in the Honduran media.

Morde said the locals told him about a huge monkey temple inhabited by a civilization known as the Chorotegas, and claimed that he had precious evidence of such a spot during his 1939-40 expedition.

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But Morde never revealed the location of his alleged find and committed suicide in 1954.

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