So you all probably know how many scientists think we are in the midst of the next great mass extinction, caused largely because of human activity. The good news is that we’re discovering more new species than ever before. Here are some of my favorite species discovered in the past few years. Hopefully you’ll find them as interesting as I did! 🙂 The beauty of the discovery of a new species is that it shows us just how cool our planet is all over again, and it pushes us to protect our world even more.
First up, Chelonoidis donfaustoi, a species of giant tortoise found living on Santa Cruz island, part of the very same Galapagos Islands Charles Darwin visited. However, since Chelonoidis donfaustoi is a mouthful, you can just call these fellas eastern Santa Cruz tortoises. In 2015, scientists reexamined the tortoises on the island, and discovered that there were in actuality two species living there. Thus, the world was made aware of a new species of tortoise. Look at this guy, isn’t he cute?
If a tortoise just isn’t your thing, how about a tiny frog? More specifically, the tiniest frog in the Old World (Africa, Europe, Asia)? Microhyla nepethicola was discovered in 2010 on the island of Borneo. The frog lives in and around pitcher plants, where it lays its eggs and its little tadpoles grow up. ^u^
Interestingly, taxidermied specimens of this frog exist that are over 100 years old; we just didn’t know it was its own species until now. Before, people assumed they were other species that weren’t yet fully grown.
Here’s another frog you might enjoy: Hyalinobatrachium dianae, or Diane’s bare-hearted glass frog, also known as Kermit. This frog, discovered in 2015, is partially transparent; you can see its heart, liver, and much of its digestive system. And of course, there are those iconic eyes, so resembling our own beloved Kermit the Frog. The glass frog lives in the rain forests of Costa Rica, primarily in an area of protected forestland.
Maybe not as friendly-looking but definitely captivating is Geosesarma dennerle, commonly known as the Vampire Crab. This crab has existed as a pet and in aquariums for a while now, but only in 2015 was it recognized officially as its own species. The crab is native to Java, Indonesia.
Last but not least is Callicebus miltoni, also known as Milton’s titi monkey. Native to the Amazon, this primate is quite possibly the cutest creature on this list. However, this titi is also likely endangered even though it was only discovered in 2011. The Amazon rain forest is one of the most threatened places on earth, and it must be protected if creatures like the titi monkey are to survive.
If you want to help protect these amazing creatures we share the planet with, donate to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which works hard to ensure the continued survival and flourishing of endangered species.