Australia's Purple Kangaroo

Scientists in Australia, in mid-October, said a mysterious purple kangaroo, thought to be a legend, does actually exist. A biologist named Le Souf claimed to have discovered the species in 1924, but experts ignored his claims. Researchers from Macquarie University in Sydney, however, announced during 2001 that the wallaby does exist and has purple around its neck and on its face. They have called it the purple-necked rock wallaby.

It is not yet known how and why the purple pigment is produced, but it has been found to wash off in rain before reappearing.

Department of Biological Sciences researcher Dr Mark Eldridge said: "No one believed [Le Souf], everyone just said, 'No, they can't have purple necks, they must be rubbing themselves on some rock and getting this funny coloration.' Because it is secreted through the skin, once the animal is dead the pigment rapidly fades, so by the time Le Souf got the specimens back to Brisbane or Sydney from North Queensland, the color had gone. It just looked like a very plain, normal-looking rock wallaby." Using genetic technology, the Macquarie University team found the animal was indeed an entirely new species.