Posted by: Loren Coleman on October 8th, 2012
Sometimes when you go looking for new species, based on hearing they are around, you find them. That’s called cryptozoology!
Today is the 7th Anniversary of a new lizard discovery that was first announced on Columbus Day 2005!
The following column was actually one of the first of mine here at Cryptomundo. It only seems fitting to reprint it today, in tribute to this day and the beginning at the end of this month of our first year in the new museum location. This is also the start of the 10th year since the founding of the museum.
The new lizard was discovered by a biologist digging through the forest floor debris on Union Island. Of course, new animals are found all the time, giving hope to cryptozoologists that the big ones – like Bigfoot, Nessie, and Yeti – are still out there, yet to be discovered. It is encouraging to hear about the little finds too, now and then, to keep us going. Now comes evidence from a rainforest in the Caribbean of yet another new species.
According to the Kansas City Star, Robert Powell, a professor for the last 30 years at Kansas City’s Avila University, found two of these geckolike little lizards, after an amateur naturalist told the professor he had spotted the lizards in these parts of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Unknown to science, but ethnoknown, Powell made his “spectacular” find, and now confirms they do exist.
The discovery was published in the December 2005 issue of the Caribbean Journal of Science, and a specimen of the still nameless lizard is preserved at the University of Kansas Natural History Museum. Powell will announce the scientific name he has chosen for the lizard in the journal, although he has already revealed they are in the genus Gonatodes. [See update below.]
Powell’s lizard is small – about an inch and a half long from snout to tail tip. The Kansas City Star quotes Powell as saying: “The lizard is greenish with bright red, black and white spots that seem to jump out at you when he is placed against a plain background. But in its natural habitat, it is hard to see.”
How did Powell capture his two examples? “I scooped up a handful of leaves and debris, then carefully sifted through looking for the lizard,” Powell recalled. “The hardest thing was holding it so as not to tear its soft skin.”
The moment of discovery was exciting but, “It wasn’t, ‘Eureka!’ because we knew it was there, and we went looking for it,” Powell said. “But, still it was so cool and very satisfying.”
Loren Coleman. 10/10/2005
Photograph by Father Mark de Silva
Bob Henderson, curator at the Milwaukee Public Museum and Robert Powell, biologist at Avila University in Kansas City, Mo. officially named the new species of lizard, Gonatodes daudini, in the December 2005 issue of the Caribbean Journal of Science.
Measuring less than two inches long, Gonatodes daudini, a gecko apparently active by day, makes its home on Union Island, the southernmost of the St. Vincent Grenadine Islands in the West Indies. Since the lizards’ habitat is as far as you can get from Union’s hotels and resorts, Henderson said the site has been earmarked as a garbage dump, potentially compromising the habitat and future survival of the lizards.
A copy of the paper on the discovery can be found here.
The formal classification of the new lizard has been published, and you can find it here.
Join the past patrons and benefactors like the BCSCC, Matt Walker, David Pescovitz, John Hodgman, Patrick Huyghe, Philip Levine, and Kevin Hemenway in supporting the International Cryptozoology Museum as it celebrates various anniversaries of its existence.
Please click on the button below (not the one up top, which is for Cryptomundo administrative costs only) to take you to PayPal to send in your museum donation.
If you wish to send in your donation via the mails, by way of an international money order, or for the USA, via a check (made out to “International Cryptozoology Museum”) or money order, please use this snail mail address:
Loren Coleman, Director
International Cryptozoology Museum
11 Avon Street
Portland, ME 04101
Thank you, and come visit the museum at the above address, six days a week (we are only closed on Tuesdays).
Enjoy Discovery Day, every day!