Everest Expedition Uncovers Exotic Species
Mount Everest and the Himalaya mountain range conjure images of llamas and Sherpas loaded with heavy packs. But tucked into the cold shadows of the world's tallest mountain are biologically diverse hotspots filled with poorly known plants and animals found nowhere else on the globe.
Scientists from Conservation International and Disney's Animal Kingdom recently launched a two-month scientific expedition into six regions of the Tibetan "Sacred Lands" in the mountains of Southwest China and Nepal.
Today they announced the discovery of a pocket of the world rich in extraordinary flora and fauna.
"The fact that we found so many new species in such a harsh environment, as well as documented several rare and endangered species is good news for these two regions," said Leeanne Alonso, the expedition's lead scientist and vice president of the CI's Rapid Assessment Program.
Here's a sampling of the outlandish critters:
Giant hornets so deadly locals call them "Yak Killers"
Jumping "Yeti" mice
A new grasshopper species in which the males hitch piggy-back rides on the females
Baby blue-faced golden monkeys, the region's largest primates
Hamster-like pikas that eat their own feces
A couple of new frog species, eight new insect species, and ten new species of ants to add the more than 11,000 already known.
Check out the rest of the pictures in the gallery. I like the red panda
The giant Asian hornet (Vespa mandarinia) has earned the nickname “yak killer” from local villagers. At nearly 2 inches long, they’re the world’s largest hornets. Victims describe their quarter-inch-long stingers as feeling like a hot nail. The stinger delivers a lethal venom that dissolves human tissue, and, as the name implies, can kill a yak