Tuesday, April 01, 2008
As I've observed before, the title of "world's newest mammal" is constantly changing hands (or paws), belying the general belief that we know all the critters of the world. The new title holder is a small one, a shrew from Sri Lanka dubbed Crocidura hikmiya. The rates at which new species are discovered - even if we look at only the vertebrates - have held steady or risen for the last two decades. (At this point, I will, of course, refer the reader to my 2006 book Shadows of Existence: Discoveries and Speculations in Zoology (Hancock House) for further documentation.) The point is that, as we become more aware of the damage we are doing to our planet, new creatures keep popping us to remind us that we don't even know what we're destroying.