© Brent Stirton/Getty Images / WWF-UK
But on New Guinea, an island that represents no more than 1% of the world’s landmass, an array of extraordinary animals and plants have also flourished, such as tree kangaroos and birds of paradise.
Close to 10% of the world’s vertebrates are concentrated here, while 7% of the world’s higher (vascular) plants grow on the island’s productive soils.
The New Guinea Book of Records
On a walk through the forests of New Guinea, you may encounter the world’s largest pigeon (the Southern crowned pigeon, Goura scheepmakeri
), smallest parrot (the red-breasted pygmy parrot, Micropsitta finschii
) and the longest lizard (Salvadore's monitor lizard, Varanus salvadorii
Sooner or later, the world’s largest butterfly (Queen Alexandra birdwing, Ornithoptera alexandrae
) would flutter by. To recover, you would sit under the shadow of Araucaria
(a conifer), at up to 70 m in height the tallest tropical trees on the planet.