Wednesday, January 07, 2015

New species of 2014

There are several collections of species described in 2014, but here is the International Institute for Species Exploration's list of the Top 10. Keep in mind this is 10 out of approximately 18,000! 
Pride of place goes to the impossibly cute Olinguito  (Bassaricyon neblina), a round-faced, furry raccoon relative from the Andes (Columbia and Ecuador).  Scientists complain that too much attention is given to "charismatic species," mostly mammals, but the fact is you can get people to contribute money to save habitat for pandas, and you can't do that for a new earthworm, so a new poster animal is welcome. 
The only other vertebrate on the list is the leaf-tailed gecko.  The others are small invertebrates, with the striking exception of Kaweesak's Dragon Tree from Thailand - a beautiful tree that can be 12m tall. 
Return to a moment to that figure of 18,000 and remember that this is pretty typical. We haven't run out of new creatures to find. What we are running out of, in far too many cases, is time. 

Olinguito (photo Smithsonian)

1 comment:

Sohail Ahmed said...
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