Nature constantly engineers new and creative solutions to all sorts of problems—turning our stereotypes about sex upside-down along the way.
The top ten new species 2012 The International Institute for Species Exploration has come up with a list of top ten new species; among them the snub nosed monkey that sneezes when it rains, a wasp that attacks ants in less than 0.05 of a second, and a psychedelic jellyfish. (previously on MeFi)
The red-crested tree rat (Santamartamys rufodorsalis), not seen in over a hundred years, made an unexpected, nonchalant appearance at the El Dorado Bird Reserve in Colombia a couple of weeks ago. Witnesses are unavailable for comment, being too busy with squeals of "Awwwwwww" to respond to questions. Press release here; high-res photos heEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
"Bryn the pygmy rabbit died in 2008, marking the end of her genetic line. This subpopulation lost its sagebrush habitat as the land was developed for agriculture ... In an off-exhibit room at the Oregon Zoo, the staff was quiet, even reverent, as they brought in Bryn. She was one of two Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits left, and since both were old females, this was a solemn occasion." Rare: Portraits of America’s Endangered Species
Attenborough's Pitcher, an "Udderly Weird Yam," a two-inch phallic mushroom already immortalized on Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, and the "Bombardier Worm" ("Chaff worm" would seem a more accurate name) are just four of the newly described species making the International Institute for Species Exploration's totally arbitrary Top 10 New Species list. [more inside]
A hen in Shrewsbury, England takes a litter of puppies under her wing, and other animals that take in other species.
A new species of monkey turned up in India [NYTimes or Rediff]. Though the monkeys are new to science, people in the area are quite familiar with them. They call them "mun zala" or deep forest monkeys. It's a stocky, short-tailed, brown-haired creature they have named the Macaca munzala, or Arunachal macaque. Maybe not that excting for those of us not excited by, uh, mokeys, but did you know this year there have been other new things discovered? A new species of plec and one of Neon goby, even more exciting, a new electric fish was found as well. A quick search turned up dozens of new fish this year. ABC News says 178 new things found in the oceans this year alone, raising the number of life-forms found in the world's oceans to about 230,000. The big question is, of course, how many of those will Taste Like Chicken? The bad news on the little critter front is 1 in 10 bird species could vanish within 100 years, and I bet they all taste like chicken.
The Endangered Species Act marked its 30th anniversary this December. Some say we need it while others say we need to change it. Whatever its faults, many species have benefited from it.
Hinterland Who's Who Back in the mid 1906s the Canadian government made what have now become the longest running public service annoucments ever. They're also possible the most boring, but that can't stop them from being amazingly popular. Don't forget to check out the spoofs.
The All Species Inventory is a non-profit organization dedicated to the complete inventory of all species of life on Earth within the next 25 years - a human generation. It's an interesting project, based on open-source ideology (check out their "Principles") but seems to be limiting itself to strictly Linnaean methods.
We're finding new fauna in some of the most heavily-populated areas on earth. It sort of makes you wonder what how many species we never even know about as we slash and burn great hunks of the rain forests, wooded areas, and other biodiverse areas of the world. (And good grief, those bugs are huge!)