Friday, July 03, 2015

For July 4, an explosion of new species

We don't know all the species on this planet.  But how fast are we discovering them? It's still true, as the Times of India quotes a British WWF scientist, that,  "The more scientists look, the more they find."
This particular  compilation covers the discoveries in the Amazon basin over 2010-2013, a total of 441 species. Adorable purring monkeys? Got 'em.  Vegetarian piranha?  We have one of those, too.  Two hundred and fifty-eight plants to go with 84 fish, 22 reptiles, 18 birds, a mammal, and 58 amphibians? Sounds about right.And again, those are just the plants and vertebrates. It's nearly impossible to keep up with the invertebrates: at the high end, entomologist Terry Erwin, whole collects insects so fast he assigns alphanumeric codes because there are too many species to award scientific names as they are found, thinks there could be 30 million tropical beetles, with a huge share of those in the Amazon.

This image from NASA breaks down the many types of habitats found in this area rich in plant and animal life.

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