Footprints on a deserted beach led to a never-before-seen discovery

A young woman's keen sense of observation led to a surprising discovery on this beach.

Footprints on a deserted beach led to a never-before-seen discovery

A young woman's keen sense of observation led to a surprising discovery on this beach.

Even a trivial gesture, carried out daily, can sometimes lead to great discoveries. This is what happened to Queensland resident Janet Boxall during one of her morning walks on an Australian beach. The keen observer said she noticed unusual footprints on the deserted beach which led or came directly from the sea.

If marine animals are legion in the region, notably several species of turtles, the young woman says she is used to observing sea turtles on this beach. However, the traces noticed that day were in no way similar to those regularly left at this location. The Australian therefore had the good idea to photograph them and present her find to a local group, specialized in turtle observation.

With the young woman's help, the group eventually found some eggs at the end of the beach and placed them in a safe place. But it was only 60 days later that the mystery was about to be solved... or on the contrary the clues were even more surprising! The hatching of the eggs stunned the specialist group from the Mackay and District Turtles Watch Organization who are reporting this story. Experts' observations of these baby turtles revealed an unusual detail: None of the hatchlings exhibited the typical characteristics of local turtles. The scales on the shells were much different.

A close examination of the photographs of the prints taken two months earlier created a little more surprise. According to experts, the images actually showed a far too wide trail left by the mother turtle's belly. It was ultimately a specialist in aquatic species who confirmed the nature of this find. These tracks on the beach actually came from an olive ridley turtle, a species never before recorded in this region over the past 50 years, when scientific observations began.

While the olive ridley sea turtle may be abundant in other seas around the world, it is endangered in many other places. Its closest nesting area to this region is in the Solomon Islands, much further east! Never before had such a species been detected on these coasts in 50 years of observation and experts believe that it had even disappeared from Australia since the 19th century.

Since the testimonies attesting to its presence during the first explorations of the region in 1800, no similar turtle had been reported. The discovery of this Australian has therefore given hope to biodiversity experts in the region. And as the olive ridley turtle only nests every two years, they intend to closely monitor this beach at the end of 2025...

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