The Lord God Bird may still be the stuff of hopeful legend, but other creatures thought to have been extinct have been putting in appearances recently. Consider the recurve-billed bushbird (Clytoctantes alixii), missing and believed gone for good from its remaining habitat in northeastern Columbia, until it turned up in 2005 in a bamboo forest after 40 years without a confirmed sighting. Now scientists have captured new photos of this bird in the 250-acre Hormiguero de Torcoroma Bird Reserve established to protect the species.
Meanwhile in Papua, there is new evidence that the rarest monotremes (egg-laying mammals) - Attenborough's long-beaked echidna (Zaglossus attenboroughi) - still pokes its nose into the forest litter of the remote Cyclops Mountain Reserve. A team of explorers from Zoological Society of London (ZSL) "spoke to local tribespeople who said that they had seen the creature as recently as 2005... [and they also] discovered 'nose pokes', holes in the ground made by the echidnas as they stuck their long noses into soil to feed." This species had been previously known to science by a since recorded specimen collected in 1961.
Finally, the Coelacanth, an extremely rare fish long thought to have gone extinct 80 million years ago until it resurfaced in the off South Africa in 1938, now is represented by two distinct living species from the waters of seven Indian Ocean countries. Latimeria chalumnae occurs in pockets around the western rim of the Indian Ocean in Tanzania, Kenya, Comoros, Madagascar, Mozambique and South Africa. A separate species Latimeria menadoensis was discovered in Indonesia in 1997. On July 15th, a coelacanth of the L. chalumnae species was caught off Zanzibar, the third place in Tanzania where the fish has been sighted. Coelacanth rise or sink to find the dim light and water temperatures they require between 14 to 22°C.
Which all goes to show that there is still room in this world for Mystery, that not everything on Earth is known to Science. Which ee cummings knew all along:
O sweet spontaneous
earth how often have
prurient philosophers pinched
,has the naughty thumb
of science prodded
often have religions taken
thee upon their scraggy knees
buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive
to the incomparable
couch of death thy
them only with