Scientists say they have found at least six new species of animals living in the cloud forest near the citadel of Machu Picchu.
The new species identified, according to a report on Mongabay, include one lizard, four frogs, and an unnamed water rodent that is noticeable for its lack of external ears.
The findings were made in 2012 during a survey of the Historic Sanctuary by a group of Peruvian and Mexican scientists. The team, led by Horacio Zeballos, curator of the Department of Mammalogy at the Museum de Arequipa and Gerardo Ceballos from the Instituto de Ecología of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, have since been formally working on the descriptions of the species.
In addition to these findings, researchers also said they discovered an animal known as the arboreal chinchilla (Cuscomys oblativa), which was thought to have been extinct since the time of the Incas more than 300 years ago. The animal has greyish hair except for a white streak down the front of its head, and is about the size of a cat.
This mammal was first described from two skulls found in Inca pottery unearthed at Machu Picchu by Hiram Bingham in 1912, and was believed to have been extinct since before Pizarro’s arrival. In 2009, however, park ranger Roberto Quispe found one living near the citadel.
The frogs include one in the genus Telmatobius, which spends its life in small pools built by the Incas. Two of the frog species are born as froglets, skipping the tadpole stage, and the fourth is a tree-dwelling species that is also known as a marsupial frog because it carries their young in a pouch.