Extinct species rediscovered


Three plant species and a rare turtle thought to be extinct in the wild have been rediscovered in recent weeks.

In northern Australia, the rediscovered plant species include Rhaphidospora cavernarum (last seen in 1873) and Teucrium ajugaceum (thought extinct since 1891).

In nearby Tasmania, 60 patches of dense midge orchids have been found on mountain lands owned by the government and private citizens. The orchid was last seen in 1852.

Scientists are also excited about the possible rediscovery of the Swinhoe's giant turtle in Vietnam. Just three other Swinhoe's turtles are known to exist -- all in zoos. The as-yet-unverified sighting of a single additional turtle in a lake in northern Vietnam was the result of three years of intensive searching.

Meanwhile, one more extinct species may have been hiding in plain sight for centuries. New research suggests that a small population of elephants living on the island of Borneo may actually be Javan pygmy elephants, which went extinct on their home island more than 200 years ago. The elephants currently face the threat of total habitat loss due to Borneo's palm oil industry.

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