-MANILA, Philippines — Researchers have concluded that a giant, golden-spotted monitor lizard discovered in the forested mountains of the Philippines six years ago is a new species, according to a study released Wednesday.

The 6.5-foot lizard was first spotted in 2004 in the Sierra Madre mountains on the island of Luzon when local researchers saw local Agta tribesmen carrying one of the dead reptiles.

With the help of DNA testing, researchers determined it was a new species that was closely related to another monitor lizard on the same island about 90 miles away.

“I knew as soon as I saw the animal that it was something special,” Luke Welton, a graduate student at the University of Kansas and one of the co-authors of the study, said.