MANAUS, BRAZIL—A team of scientists studying the Amazon Rainforest announced the remarkable discovery this week of thousands of previously undiscovered mammals, reptiles, birds and other species desperately cowering for dear life under rocks and assorted foliage.
According to biologists, the 16-month expedition in search of new indigenous lifeforms in the Amazon River basin was a remarkable success, uncovering over 2,300 varieties of heretofore unclassified lemurs, tarantulas, and porcupines as they convulsed in terror under flora and frantically scrambled up trees for safety.
"Our expedition has shown that the Amazon Rainforest is simply teeming with a multitude of creatures never before glimpsed in this region," said lead researcher professor Courtland Gere, who personally observed a rare form of spider monkey as it huddled, shaking, inside the stump of a freshly felled tree. "Just mere minutes after our vehicles entered the forest, our team was lucky enough to hear the grief-stricken whimpers of a fascinating, previously unknown species of striped jaguar locked in the fetal position under a pile of leaves."
"In fact, even on the outskirts of the region we observed an endangered form of anaconda crawling desperately to get as far away from the forest as possible," Gere continued. "Everywhere we turned were astonishing new signs of life."
Gere went on to describe the sheer multitude of rare creatures found trembling throughout the rainforest including a dry-heaving monarch butterfly, two overstressed toucans that had shed nearly all of their feathers, and an orangutan that regularly wakes up with night sweats.
"Our researchers even managed to catch a glimpse of a rare pygmy pink dolphin nervously hugging the bank of the river," Gere said, noting that some new species were easy to identify as they sprinted at full speed for a hiding place at the first sound of human voices and truck engines. "However, our knowledge of this species is still limited as the moment we stepped in its direction it swam to the other shore and frantically attempted to camouflage with its environment, despite not actually possessing this trait."
According to biologists, several unfamiliar creatures, while appearing similar to counterparts from other parts of the world, possessed new and unique characteristics. For instance, within the amphibian class researchers observed a salamander that could secrete eight distinct fear-based fluids, a newt that regularly suffers from anxiety attacks, and a bullfrog that appeared to actually be praying.
"In a few special cases, animals had developed fully new body parts to be used for some type of undetermined evolutionary advantage," said biologist Dr. Sarah Schumer. "One reptile we've dubbed the 'hyperventilating lizard' uses a flesh-like air pouch it would pull over its mouth to breathe in and out rapidly and with great agitation. Another truly remarkable find."
Scientists on the expedition added they had also discovered over 800 new varieties of plant life, almost all of which shot out highly deadly toxins when merely touched by a human hand.