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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Ancient 4-Eyed Predator Wielded Wicked Toothy Claws
Yawunik kootenayi
March 27th, 2015
Yawunik kootenayi, a new Cambrian predator with a wicked set of arms under its four-eyed face, reveals that early arthropods were experimentalists.
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Meet 2 New Spider Species: 'Skeletorus' and 'Sparklemuffin'
A colorful peacock spider
February 26th, 2015
A graduate student studying peacock spiders in Australia discovered two new species of the colorful eight-legged beasts.
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New Sea Dragon Species Flaunts Ruby-Red Skin
sea dragon images
February 18th, 2015
For the first time in 150 years, researchers have found a new species of sea dragon, a marine creature with "unusual red coloration," according to a new study.
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Gallery: Prehistoric Predator Had Dual-Purpose Pinchers
Yawunik kootenayi
March 27th, 2015
An extinct marine predator called Yawunik kootenayi is the first new species reported from the stunning Marble Canyon fossil site in British Columbia’s Kootenay National Park. Here are images of the amazing creature.
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Photos: Ancient Crocodile Relatives Roamed the Amazon
Crocodile illustration
February 24th, 2015
The fossilized remains of seven species of crocodile relatives were found along the banks of the Amazon River in Peru.
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Newfound Frog Has Strange Breeding Habits
New species of Bangladesh frog
February 4th, 2015
A new species of frog has hopped onto the radar of researchers in Bangladesh. The frogs were discovered after the researchers noticed their unusual breeding habits, according to a new study.
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New Frog Species Coughs Instead of Croaking
Atlantic coast leopard frog, new frog species, sounds, croak, cough
December 3rd, 2014
Its distinctive mating call helps scientists distinguish the creature from already known frogs with which it was often confused.
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Shape-Shifting Frog Can Change Its Skin Texture
Mutable rain frog
March 24th, 2015
A fingernail-size frog that can morph its skin texture from spiny to smooth in just minutes is the first shape-shifting amphibian ever found, according to a new report.
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Ancient Croc with 'Shovel Mouth' Likely Enjoyed Clam Dinners
crocodile with shovel mouth
February 24th, 2015
A peg-toothed crocodile relative with a mouth like a shovel lived in the prehistoric swamps of Peru about 13 million years ago, a new study finds.
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Who's Who? Centuries-Old Owl Mix-Up Fixed
Desert tawny owl
January 29th, 2015
Once mistaken for another species of owl, the golden-eyed desert tawny owl is finally getting its due, thanks to a new study.
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