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New 'Moby Dick' lizard species found in Madagascar

Published on Jan 16, 2013 6:05 AM
This handout picture released by the CNRS shows a new species of fossorial lizard from the Island of Madagascar called "Sirenoscincus mobydick." Its name refers to Moby Dick, the famous albino sperm whale imagined by Herman Melville, with whom the new species shares several uncommon characteristics, such as the lack of hindlimbs, the presence of flipper-like forelimbs, highly reduced eyes, and the complete absence of pigmentation. -- PHOTO: AFP 

MONTPELLIER, France (AFP) - A new lizard species has been discovered in Madagascar and named "Moby Dick" mermaid skink - after the albino sperm whale imagined by Herman Melville - for its flipper-like forelimbs and unpigmented skin, France's National Centre for Scientific Research said on Tuesday.

The CNRS said the "Sirenoscincus mobydick" presents a unique combination of anatomical features that can be found in amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds.

The discovery, made by French, Malagasy, American and German researchers, was published in the Zoosystema journal at the end of December.

The centre said the "Moby Dick" lizard was discovered in the dry north-western forests of Madagascar.

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