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An expedition to a remote part of northern Australia has uncovered three new vertebrate species isolated for millions of years, with scientists Monday calling the area a "lost world".
Conrad Hoskin from James Cook University and a National Geographic film crew were dropped by helicopter onto the rugged Cape Melville mountain range on Cape York Peninsula earlier this year and were amazed at what they found.
It included a bizarre looking leaf-tail gecko, a golden-colored skink and a boulder-dwelling frog, none of them ever seen before.
"The top of Cape Melville is a lost world. Finding these new species up there is the discovery of a life time -- I'm still amazed and buzzing from it," said Hoskin from the Queensland-based university.
"Finding three new, obviously distinct vertebrates would be surprising enough in somewhere poorly explored like New Guinea, let alone in Australia, a country we think we've explored pretty well."
The mountain range is home to millions of black granite boulders the size of cars and houses piled hundreds of metres high.
While surveys had previously been conducted in the boulder-fields around the base of Cape Melville, the plateau of boulder-strewn rainforest on top had remained largely unexplored, fortressed by massive boulder walls.