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New Galápagos species identified

Enlarge Image credit: Photograph settings by Gabriele Gentile, photo by an assistant. MORE IMAGES

Researchers led by biologist Gabriele Gentile of the University of Rome Tor Vergata have discovered a new species of land iguana living in the Galápagos that Darwin missed but may shed light on evolution. DNA analyses suggest that the species diverged from other land iguanas some 5.7 million years ago, much earlier than previously thought. The pink critter belongs to the genus Conolophus, but the researchers have not yet revealed the full scientific name. "We desperately need more funds to keep on doing our best to investigate and protect this newly recognized species," Gentile says, "before it becomes extinct."

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