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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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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Kermit the Frog Look-Alike Among 5 New Species Uncovered
costa rican frog
May 1st, 2015
The planet is crawling with critters, but scientists are meeting some of them only just now.
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Kermit the Frog Look-Alike Discovered in Costa Rica
costa rican frog
April 22nd, 2015
The inch-long species, scientifically named Hyalinobatrachium dianae, joins Costa Rica's 13 other glass frogs.
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Cartwheeling Spider, Corpse-Hoarding Wasp Among Bizarre New Species
This agile spider (<em>Cebrennus rechenbergi</em>) cartwheels its way out of danger.
May 21st, 2015
A morbidly maternal wasp, a crop-circle-creating pufferfish and an acrobatic arachnid are among the bizarre and awe-inspiring new species named in 2014, according to a new ranking.
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Rare Sperm Whale Fossils Shed Light on Mysterious Family Tree
Pygmy sperm whale skull
April 29th, 2015
Rare, 7-million-year-old fossils of two extinct pygmy sperm whales are helping researchers learn about the evolution of the ocean's largest toothed whale, a new study finds.
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Towering 'Terror Bird' Stalked Prey by Listening for Footsteps
Terror bird fossil
April 9th, 2015
Researchers have found a nearly complete skeleton of a new species of terror bird, prehistoric carnivorous birds with hooked beaks standing 10 feet (3 meters) tall, and are learning surprising details about the animal's hearing and anatomy.
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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: Top 10 New Species
Phyllodesmium acanthorhinum, slug
May 21st, 2015
A fierce, feathery dinosaur, a parasitic plant and a creepily maternal wasp are among the top 10 species described in 2014.
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In Photos: Rare Pocket Shark Discovered
Illustration of a pocket shark.
April 24th, 2015
Scientists have identified a pocket shark that was collected from the Gulf of Mexico, only the second specimen in this genus ever reported, they say. Here are images of the teensy shark.
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Here Be Dragons: 3 Spiky Lizard Species Found in Andes
E. altotambo.
April 6th, 2015
Colorful, spiky and only a few inches long, three new lizard species discovered in the Andes may be the cutest dragon stand-ins on Earth.
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