Wednesday, February 11, 2009

408 new mammals in the last 15 years

Yes, you read that right. The authors of a new paper reviewing all the findings since 1993 report that 40% are "large and distinctive." (The others are referred to as "cryptic," meaning, in this case, they looked similar to other species and needed genetic or other tests to differentiate them.) The new species include 23 which are endangered, which is actually surprisingly low. They bring the worldwide mammal count to 5,487.
Coauthor Paul Ehrlich comments, "What this paper really talks about is how little we actually know about our natural capital and how little we know about the services that flow from it."

COMMENT: OK, the really big animals some cryptozoologists look for so ardently still elude us, if indeed they exist. But to suggest that the search for new mammals is unscientific or a waste of time - as George Gaylord Simpson flatly declared in a 1984 paper - is an absurdity in the face of this data.

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