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.
A newly identified, 130-million-year-old marine reptile was enormous, measuring the length of nearly three grand pianos lined up, but it wasn't a top marine predator, a new study finds.
A spiky, tank-like dinosaur discovered in a Canadian mine is so well-preserved, it looks as if the fossilized creature were frozen in time for 110 million years.
What's as long as a pickup truck, as heavy as a white rhinoceros and as weird-looking as Zuul, the monster from the 1984 "Ghostbusters" movie? A newfound species of ankylosaurus.
An armored dinosaur known as an ankylosaurus looked so much like Zuul from the 1984 movie "Ghostbusters" that paleontologists made the monster the dinosaur's namesake.
In 1992, a Chinese farmer discovered an extraordinary fossil: the embryo of a rare and giant bird-like dinosaur that lived 90 million years ago.
A 145-million-year-old dinosaur about the size of a wild turkey sported a plume of tail feathers that were surprisingly modern-looking and aerodynamic in shape, a new study finds.
A 508-million-year-old critter — one that looks like a weird lobster with 50 legs, two claws and a tent-like shell — is the oldest known arthropod with mandibles on record, a new study finds.
A new species of pistol shrimp doesn't live on the dark side of the moon, nor is it a lost soul swimming in a fishbowl.
About 245 million years ago, a strange creature walked around what was then the supercontinent Pangaea.
The fearsome Tyrannosaurus rex didn't have lips if it looked anything like a newly discovered tyrannosaur species that scientists are calling the "frightful lizard."
After nearly 30 years since its discovery in Montana, a newfound species of tyrannosaur is finally making its debut.