Discoveries

Our world is vast and much is still to be discovered and described by science.

A recent article published in Science Daily reports on the discovery of 71 new species by researchers at the California Academy of Sciences in 2019. The article provides a nice overview of the species discovered and includes the following quote remaining us that there is much work to do to identify what we have on this wonderful planet. A nice short read if you can find the time.

“Despite decades of tirelessly scouring some of the most familiar and remote places on Earth,” says Shannon Bennett, PhD, and Academy Chief of Science, “biodiversity scientists estimate that more than 90% of nature’s species remain unknown. A rich diversity of plants and animals is what allows life on our planet to thrive: the interconnectedness of all living systems provides collective resilience in the face of our climate crisis. Each newly discovered species serves as an important reminder of the critical role we play in better understanding and preserving these precious ecosystems.”

References:

1.California Academy of Sciences. (2019, December 5). Scientists at the California Academy of Sciences describe 71 new species in 2019. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 10, 2019 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/12/191205155818.htm

And just for fun a smattering of those species we already know.

White Tailed Buck

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A white tailed buck slowly moves slowly through the fields of dried grass foraging on a few green shoots and the remains of a rocky mountain bee plant.

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A regal fellow with head held high.

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And a wonderful sight that brought some light to a cloudy gray afternoon.

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Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

New Discoveries

First sighted by birders in the lowland forests of Borneo  over a decade ago the Spectacled Flowerpecker has now been studied and classified as a new species. The species was studied by Chris Milensky and Jacob Saucier from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History while conducting a bird diversity survey. A specimen was captured in the groups mistnet enabling the scientists to collect a DNA sample and confirm that the bird is genetically distant from other known species of flowerpeckers. It is the first new bird species to be found in Borneo for 100 years and a reminder that there are still discoveries to be made.

A quote from Milensky is also a reminder that while there are indeed innumerable scientific discoveries to be made what enables these discoveries is intact habitat for species to exist.

“the discovery of the Spectacled Flowerpecker reflects the boundless biodiversity of the Bornean forests. “Birds are pretty well-studied compared to other organisms, so whenever you find a new bird, you realize just how little you know. Who knows how many insects and invertebrates and other things are still left to be discovered in these forests?” he says. “There are so many other organisms out there that we certainly don’t even know about, that really do require habitat preservation.” 

References:

1.  Jacob R. Saucier, Christopher M. Milensky, Marcos A. Caraballo-Ortiz, Roslina Ragai, N. Faridah Dahlan, David P. Edwards. A distinctive new species of flowerpecker (Passeriformes: Dicaeidae) from Borneo. Zootaxa, 2019; 4686 (4): 451 DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4686.4.1

2. https://www.si.edu/newsdesk/releases/first-scientific-description-elusive-bird-illuminates-plight-borneos-forests

3.https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191017141049.htm