Newfound Species

Science has identified some 2 million species of plants, animals and microbes on Earth, but scientists estimated there are millions more left to discover, and new species are constantly discovered and described. The most commonly discovered new species are typically insects, a type of animal with a high degree of biodiversity. Newly discovered mammal species are rare, but they do occur, typically in remote places that haven't been well studied previously. Some animals are found to be new species only when scientists peer at their genetic code, because they look outwardly similar to another species — these are called cryptic species. Some newfound species come from museum collections that haven't been previously combed through and, of course, from fossils. Read below for stories about newly discovered species, both alive on Earth today and those that once roamed the planet.
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Latest Articles

Wild 'Jesus Lizard' Once Walked on Wyoming's Tropical Waters
jesus lizard
July 1st, 2015
About 48 million years ago, a distant relative of the "Jesus lizard," named for its knack for walking on water, darted around the tropical rainforests of ancient Wyoming, a new study finds.
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Ancient, Shell-Less Turtle Sported Whiplike Tail
Grandfather turtle illustration
June 24th, 2015
An ancestor of modern-day turtles, a shell-less creature with a long tail once puttered around an ancient lake, likely munching on insects and worms with its peglike teeth, a new study finds.
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Suicidal Sexcapades: 2 Newfound Marsupials Do It to Death
Tasman Peninsula dusky antechinus
June 4th, 2015
Two chubby marsupial species that would literally die for sex (albeit 14-hour sessions) have been discovered Down Under, researchers now report.
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Walk on Water: Photos of Ancient Jesus Lizard Relative
Jesus lizard
July 1st, 2015
The 48-million-year-old skull of an ancient Jesus lizard relative found in Wyoming may shed light on the evolutionary history of lizards, iguanas and chameleons, a new study finds.
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Giant 'Walking Bat' Once Prowled Rainforest Floors
New Zealand bat
June 19th, 2015
About 16 million years ago, a giant bat used all four of its limbs to stalk around the subtropical rainforest of modern-day New Zealand, a new study finds.
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Squee! New Absurdly Tiny Frogs Found in Brazil
 A new species of Brachycephalus from Brazil is dwarfed by a human fingertip.
June 4th, 2015
Each smaller than a thumbnail, seven new species of frog have been discovered in the cloud forests of Brazil. Some have warty coverings while others are smooth with spots.
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425-Million-Year-Old 'Tongue Worm' Fossilized Mid-Invasion
fossil with tongue worm parasite
May 21st, 2015
About 425 million years ago, a sneaky wormlike parasite invaded a crustacean before the two were fossilized together in the limestone of modern-day England, a new study finds.
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Armored Spiky Worm Had 30 Legs, Will Haunt Your Nightmares
cambrian lobopodia illustration
June 29th, 2015
A spiky, wormlike creature with 30 legs — 18 clawed rear legs and 12 featherlike front legs that likely helped it filter food from the water — once lived in the ancient oceans of the early Cambrian period, about 518 million years ago, a new study finds.
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What a Face! 'Hellboy' Dino Sported Head Crown, Teeny Eye Horns
illustration of the horned dinosaur Regaliceratops
June 4th, 2015
About 70 million years ago, a bizarre-looking relative of Triceratops with a crownlike frill, tall nose horn and tiny eye horns tread over the ancient landscape of southeastern Alberta, a new study finds.
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'Dementor' Wasps and Long-Fanged Bats! Trove of New Species Found
new species, Soul-sucking dementor wasp
May 28th, 2015
A paralysis-inducing wasp, a color-changing toad and a bat with eerily long teeth — what do all of these critters have in common?
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