When Mike Poben, an opal buyer and and fossil fanatic, bought a bucket of opal from an Australian mine, he was surprised to find to find what looked like an ancient tooth in the pile.
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.
Dinosaurs that lived during the early Jurassic period could stop and smell the flowers if they so desired, according to a new study that describes the oldest fossil flower on record.
If head frills were a fashion statement, a newly identified 73-million-year-old triceratops relative was certainly at the top of its game.
Although it may look like a dinosaur, a newly identified sail-backed reptile that lived 300 million years ago is actually more closely related to humans, a new study finds.
If any rock bands are looking for a cool name, they might draw inspiration from a newly identified long-necked Jurassic giant whose moniker means "a giant thunderclap at dawn."
Alien, or anime character? Neither! It's Genie's dogfish — a new shark species named for the famous marine biologist, Eugenie Clark.
The ears of former U.S. President Barack Obama are so distinct, they inspired the scientific name of a newly identified 550-million-year-old critter: Obamus coronatus.
The itty-bitty shrimp shares more than a feature or two with the protagonist of J.R.R. Tolkien's 1937 children's fantasy novel.