Explorers hunting for mystery city in Honduran rainforest find treasure trove of rare and unknown creatures


SCIENTISTS exploring an area that’s thought to contain an ancient lost city in the Honduras rainforest have discovered a vast ecosystem of rare and endangered species, including some animals that were supposedly extinct.

The team were exploring the so called ‘City of the Jaguar’ area within the supposed complex of the legendary lost White City.

This lost ancient ancient settlement is also known as Ciudad Blanca or the White City of the Monkey God.

Ancient folklore from the 16th Century tells the tale of the Monkey God, who resided in the city and preyed on human women.

Legend has it that the women of Ciudad Blanca would then give birth to half-chimp half-human babies.

Archaeological discoveries have been made in the area but no conclusive evidence of an extensive city has ever been found.

This illustration fantasises what the city could have looked like

Trond Larsen/Conservation International

The researchers found eyelash vipers[/caption]

Biologist Trond Larsen was part of the team exploring the City of the Jaguar within the ‘White City’ and was amazed by the hundreds of rare animal and plant species that they discovered there.

He wrote in a blog post: “What we found is extremely high biodiversity in the context of Central America, including many rare and threatened species as well as new country records.

“All of this indicates that the area is an intact wilderness that needs to be preserved to maintain the integrity of ecological corridors across Central America.”

They also stumbled upon pale-faced bats that haven’t been seen in Honduras for 75 years
Trond Larsen/Conservation International

Larsen works for the environmental non-profit Conservation International, based in Virginia, and led the organisation’s Rapid Assessment Program to the White City area.

The team had to travel in by helicopter and were escorted by soldiers in case they bumped into any drug traffickers while they were looking for animals in the forest.

They managed to discover 180 species of plants, just under 250 species of insects, 198 bird species and dozens more animals.

This is a potentially new species of fish found in the river in the White City area
Trond Larsen/Conservation International

These animals included the rare pale-faced bat, which hasn’t been seen in Honduras for over 75 years and a potentially new species of fish.

They also came across unusual eyelash viper snakes and red eyed tree frogs.

The researchers wrote in their newly published report: “Many of these species are uncommon or rare in other parts of their range due to habitat loss, degradation, hunting and other pressures.

“It is one of the few areas remaining in Central America where ecological and evolutionary processes remain intact.”

Red eyed tree frogs were also observed
Trond Larsen/Conservation International
The White City is thought to still be lost in the eastern Honduras rainforest

The Honduran government is committed to protecting this area and allowing further scientific study there.

Research continues to try and find the exact location and conclusive evidence of the White City.

Lost White City facts

Here's what you need to know…

  • The White City, also called La Ciudad Blanca, is a legendary settlement that some people believe is located in the eastern rainforest of Honduras in Central America
  • The full settlement has never been found but little bits of archaeoloigcal remains have been, which some people think is evidence that the White City of the Monkey God did exist
  • Ancient folklore from the 16th Century tells the tale of the Monkey God, who resided in the city and preyed on human women
  • An anthropologist called Eduard Conzemius wrote about the lost city in 1927 saying he had spoken to some people who had stumbled across it years earlier and they had called it the White City because it had buildings made of white stone
  • In 1939, an adventurer called Theodore Morde claimed to have found the City of the Monkey God but did not provide a precise location and died before he had a change to return
  • In recent years, may people have tried to retrace Morde’s footsteps in the 32,000 square mile stretch of dense forest, swamps and lagoons that make up the la Mosquitia area of Honduras
  • Some researchers think that the current evidence suggest that there were once many settlements in the rainforest and not just one big city


In other news, we’ve rounded up some of the world’s most mysterious sunken civilisations.

The mystery of Peru’s Nazca Lines may have finally been solved by bird experts.

And, Britain’s version of Pompeii was only inhabited for about a year before it succumbed to a catastrophic fire, according to new findings.

Do you think the lost White City really exists? Let us know in the comments…

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