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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New Nocturnal Gecko Species Discovered in Madagascar
New gecko species
November 12th, 2014
A new species of gecko has been found living among the crumbling remains of an old French fort in northern Madagascar. The gecko, nocturnal by nature, is a master of camouflage and seamlessly blends in with the surrounding rocks and fortress ruins.
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Surprising Survivor: Little Ancient Reptile Outlived Dinosaurs
the Punta Peligro fossil locality, Chubut Province, Patagonia.
August 20th, 2014
A new fossil find reveals that a family of lizardlike reptiles survived the Cretaceous extinction that killed the dinosaurs and lived for millions more years in South America.
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Tiny Elephant Shrew Is Smallest of Its Kind
A newly identified sengi, or elephant shrew, from the Namib Desert.
June 27th, 2014
A new, tiny species of elephant shrew, also called a round-eared sengi, has been discovered in an ancient volcanic region in the Namib Desert in Africa. The creature sports a trunk-like snout and a weird scent gland on the underside of its tail.
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Puzzling New Animals Look Like Deep-Sea Mushrooms
Dendrogramma
September 3rd, 2014
Mysterious new animals discovered offshore of Australia are so unusual that an entire new taxonomic family was created to classify them.
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'Cape-Wearing' Dolphin Turns Out to Be New Species
australian humpback dolphin
August 7th, 2014
It's not every day that scientists identify a new mammal — especially one that can grow to be more than 8 feet (2.4 meters) long. But researchers recently named a new species of cetacean: the Australian humpback dolphin, Sousa sahulensis.
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900-Lb. Ancient Croc Tore Through Turtles, Battled Monster Snakes
June 2nd, 2014
Scientists have discovered a new type of extinct croc in South America. At 16 feet (4.8 meters) long and 900 lbs. (408 kilograms), it ate turtles and battled with monster snakes.
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Mistaken Identity: 'Sea Anemone' Is Actually New Type of Animal
The newly named Relicanthidae sea creature, which lives near hydrothermal vents, was previously thought to be a giant sea anemone (order Actiniaria). New research places this animal in a new order.
May 16th, 2014
A newly reformed "tree of life" for anemones revealed an errant branch: It turns out that one of the creatures classified as an anemone is actually the first discovered in a new order of animals, the equivalent of the first member of primates.
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Gopher Cousins: 4 Adorable Rodent Species Found
A tuco-tuco
July 18th, 2014
Four new species of rodents called tuco-tucos have been discovered in Bolivia. The animals are named after their unusual vocalizations.
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Transparent Snails & 'Fairy' Wasps: Top 10 New Species Revealed
transparent snail with no eyes
May 22nd, 2014
Snails you can see through and wasps so small as to be invisible are among the most amazing new species of 2014, a list that also includes a teddy bear-like carnivore and anemones that live on Antarctic ice.
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