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.
How was an ancient beast transformed into a stunning, 3D fossil that looks like the statue of a sleeping dragon?
A block of smuggled fossils provides the first direct evidence that some dinosaur species roosted together — that is, snuggled with one another in a cuddly group when they fell asleep at night.
A humongous "wide-necked" dinosaur — one that weighed as much as two cars — stomped across the landscape of prehistoric Africa during the Cretaceous period, a new study finds.
During the dinosaur age, two types of furry, long-limbed and long-fingered creatures flew through the air, using their squirrel-like skin to glide from tree to tree, according to two new studies.
About 508 million years ago, a skinny, flat worm swam through the deep sea, waiting for the right moment to extend its 50 sharp spines and nab its next meal, a new study finds.
More than 500 million years ago, a worm swam in the ocean's deep waters, hunting for tiny prey that it could capture with its 50 pointy spines.
A glow-in-the-dark shark that has a mouthful of pointy teeth and an impressively large bulbous nose is also quite small — about the weight of a pineapple, according to a new study.
About 71 million years ago, a feathered dinosaur that was too big to fly rambled through parts of North America, likely using its serrated teeth to gobble down meat and veggies, a new study finds.
A teeny-tiny fossilized bird skeleton is helping researchers understand the explosive rate at which birds diversified after the dinosaur age, new research shows.