Ringing in the New Year With New Life

New years are always a time for renewal, so I thought it appropriate to pass along some scientific news —

“In 2017, researchers at the California Academy of Sciences, along with several dozen international collaborators, added 85 new plant and animal species to Earth’s tree of life, including 16 flowering plants, three scorpions, 10 sharks, 22 fish, a lizard, an elephant-shrew, and a slew of species with unique names (a butterflyfish named after Donald Rumsfeld and a ‘bat-wing’ sea slug named after Dumbo the Flying Elephant). The scientists made their discoveries in five continents and three oceans.

“Shannon Bennett, Chief of Science at the California Academy of Sciences, said in a statement:

Despite tireless efforts to explore from the far-flung corners of the globe to our backyard crannies, scientists estimate that more than 90 percent of species have yet to be discovered — with many going extinct before we even know they exist. We are not only losing members of the tree of life; we are also forfeiting potential breakthroughs in medicine, agricultural pollinators, water purifiers, and many other critical components of a healthy planet.”

Here are photos of three of the new species — a female and male of Japalura slowinskii, a lizard from China; Lavoisiera canastrensis, a princess flower from Brazil; and a Stigmatomma genus of Dracula ants from Taiwan.  The complete article with more photos is “Ringing in 2018 with 85 new species” by Eleanor Imster and can be found at http://earthsky.org/earth/85-new-species.

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