12 Mar 2013

Off the wall - PNG's new natural wonders

7:24 am on 12 March 2013

Scientists say they have discovered dozens of new species in Papua New Guinea, including a type of rat that is bigger than a chihuahua.

The discoveries were made during a month-long expedition of a stretch of spectacular limestone escarpments known as the Hindenburg Wall, in the Star Mountains, the ABC reports.

The scientists surveying the 50-kilometre stretch of spectacular limestone escarpments in the far west say they may have found 80 new species of plants and animals.

Among the images captured on hidden cameras is what could be the world's smallest wallaby.

New species discovered there include a variety of orchid, carnivorous plants, butterflies, frogs and insects.

Several species of rats were also collected, one of them larger than a small dog.

Project coordinator Nathan Whitmore says the area could be one of the most biologically-diverse spots on the planet.