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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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: 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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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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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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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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