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

Velociraptor's Cousin Flaunted Fabulous Feathers, Tiny Arms
Feathered dino
July 16th, 2015
A flamboyant cousin of the fearsome Velociraptor, covered in layers of showy feathers from head to tail, once stalked meaty prey in the forests of what is now northeastern China.
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Frills and Whistles: Triceratops Relative Had Bizarre Head of Horns
Wendiceratops’ skeleton reconstruction
July 8th, 2015
The 79-million-year-old bones of four pickup truck-size horned dinosaurs have been unearthed in Alberta, Canada, and the discovery reveals how the distant relatives of Triceratops got their horns, 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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Photos: Velociraptor Cousin Had Short Arms and Feathery Plumage
feathered dinosaur, Exquisite fossil
July 16th, 2015
One of Velociraptor's cousins had an armful of feathers, even if its arms were short, a new study finds.
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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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Photos: New Triceratops Cousin Unearthed
Artist's conception of Wendiceratops pinhornensis
July 8th, 2015
A renowned fossil hunter in Alberta discovered the new species Wendiceratops pinhornensis, a dinosaur that lived about 13 million years before its famous relative, Triceratops, during the Late Cretaceous period.
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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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