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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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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New Crustaceans Found Crawling on Dead Whale Bones Off Antarctica
The isopod <em>Jaera tyleri</em> may be unique to the whale bone habitat where it was found in the Southern Ocean.
April 23rd, 2014
British researchers using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to explore the deep seafloor stumbled across the bare bones of a minke whale. Speckling the bones were tiny animals that resembled wood lice, only smaller, the researchers discovered.
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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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New Species of Mammal Is a Sex Fiend
black-tailed antechinus face
February 24th, 2014
The black-tailed antechinus is a shrew-like marsupial that gives its life for sex. Males of the new species, discovered in southeastern Australia, have sex for hours and exhaust themselves in hope of siring many offspring.
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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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Adorably Tiny Crayfish Discovered (and It's a Cannibal)
tiny crayfish
April 9th, 2014
A new crayfish, Gramastacus lacus, discovered in southeast Australia's coastal lakes is one of the world's smallest examples of the species.
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