• New Critters and Plants Added to the Earth’s Species List

    California Academy of Sciences.

    More than 200 new species of plant and animal were discovered, adding to the identified biodiversity of Earth’s tree of life. The newest members include 120 wasps, 34 sea slugs, 28 ants, 19 fish, 7 flowering plants, 7 spiders, 4 eels, 3 sharks, 2 water bears, 1 frog, 1 snake, 1 seahorse, 1 moss, and 1 liverwort plant. Those making these discoveries include dozens of international and domestic scientists.

    If it comes as a surprise to you that so many new species were recently added, consider this: Biodiversity scientists estimate that less than 10% of species on Earth have been discovered. The question to identify new species is driven by many factors, but it is enticing to consider that new discoveries may hold some promise for innovations in science, technology, or society in general, and also inform us about the remarkable array of living things that makes up Earth’s thriving ecosystems. These new discoveries also remind us of the responsibility that humans have as caretakers of the “pale blue dot” (to quote Carl Sagan) that we inhabit.

     

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