aren't all new species mutants? Isn't that how evolution works?
perhaps it's nature's way of filling the evolutionary gap that trancends all the Central Park insects with all the Central Park Joggers? - or maybe a secret collaboration between Nike and Reebok to sell more training shoes? :blah:
This tiny, orange-coloured, rodent-like mammal was found by a joint US-Filipino team of biologists at a burnt forest clearing on Mount Banahaw, south of Manila. Photo: AFP
A mouse-like mammal that cannot be found anywhere else in the world has been discovered in a Philippine mountain by Filipino and American biologists.
The new species, which weighs about 15 grams, has an eight cm body, a 10 cm tail, a very large head, and heavily muscled jaws, the department said.
"The whiskers are about five times as long as the head," ithe Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources said in a statement.
"The front teeth are very narrow, deep. The colour is bright orange."
The mammal was discovered two weeks ago in a slash-and-burn area on Mount Banahaw, south of Manila, considered a holy site by some Filipino sects.
It was discovered by a team composed of representatives from the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, the Utah Museum of Natural History, the Philippine National Museum, a locally-based conversation group and the environment department.
"The team was scouting the area for rare small mammal species," the environment department said. "The American biologists agreed that the small mammal is something very distinctive and unique."
Lawrence Heaney of the Field Museum of Natural History, said he was certain that the mammal was not the same species that can be seen anywhere else in the world.
He, however, could not tell yet what particular family or genus the small mammal belongs to.
Eric Rickart, a curator of vertebrates in the Utah Museum, said it was "not related to any of the other rodents" found in the northern Philippines.
"It represents an entirely different branch on a tree of life," he said.
Heany, who has been researching mammals in the Philippines for more than 20 years, noted that the mammal was able to crack "very hard nuts" and eat the seeds inside.
"No other mammal in the area is able to eat the seeds," he said.
The biologists said the unnamed mammal would be shipped to the United States for further study.
The Philippines has at least 52,177 species of plants, animals and other life forms, more than half of which are not found in other countries, the environment department said.
New mammal discovered in South America - and eaten Saturday June 12 2004 14:05 IST
HAMBURG: A new species of mammal has been discovered in South America but was promptly converted into roast pork and eaten by Brazilian villagers, the German natural-science cinematographer Lothar Frenz said on Friday.
The animal was the fourth known species of Peccary, a pig-like mammal found between the southern deserts of the United States and Patagonia. Resembling a wild pig, the peccary has dark, coarse hair and a large head with a circular snout and small ears.
News of the discovery of the giant Peccary was held back till shortly before the airing next Wednesday in Germany of the latest documentary by Frenz, who accompanied a Dutch naturalist, Marc Van Roosmalen, on an expedition to the Amazon region of Rio Aripuana.
The most common species are the White-lipped Peccary (Tayassu Pecari) and the Collared Peccary (Pecari Tajacu). A third sort, the Gran Chaco Peccary, was discovered in Argentina in 1974.
Frenz said, the new species' behaviour and colouring were different, along with its size which is 40 kg and 1.30 metres long.
A report appeared on Saturday in the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung quoting Frenz that he saw the first discovered giant peccary struggling valiantly before villagers killed it, flayed it and roasted it on a spit.
Frenz said he and Van Roosmalen abstained from trying the meat, but collected some of the remains for a genetic study.
And before someone asks no it doesn't have well trimmed trouser topiary
New fish species discovered off Brazil
Friday, June 18, 2004 Posted: 1028 GMT (1828 HKT)
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) -- Brazilian scientists claimed to have found a new fish species believed to have lurked deep in the south Atlantic Ocean for over 150 million years.
The fish, of the Chimaera genus, is about 30-40 centimeters (12-16 inches) long and is found at depths of 400 to 600 meters (1,300 to 2,000 feet), scientists said Thursday.
"This is a fantastic discovery, because before this we believed there were no Chimaera off the Brazilian coast," said ichthyologist Jules Soto, who discovered the fish.
Soto is the curator of the Oceanography Museum at the Vale do Itajai University and co-author of the fish's scientific description, which will be published in the upcoming edition of the U.S. scientific journal Zootaxa.
Soto said the fish was discovered on a Spanish fishing boat trawling off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state in 2001.
Soto said his students first photographed the Chimaera aboard the vessel as part of a research project, but they were unaware of the fish's importance and threw it back in the ocean.
Soto realized the significance of the discovery while examining the photographs.
"I could see right away it was a very different animal, just from the shape of the fins," Soto said by telephone from Santa Catarina state, 450 miles (700 kilometers) southwest of Rio de Janeiro.
It took Soto and his team two more years to locate more specimens and to complete the scientific work needed to prove it was a new species.
The fish, which Soto has named Hydrolagus mattallansi, has a snub nose, winglike side fins, a spiky back fin and stinger tail. It is closely related to sharks and skates.
The Chimaera can sense the presence of other animals by scanning the electromagnetic field around it, but it also has large eyes that can sense even the smallest bit of light, Soto said.
Ichthyologists called the new Chimaera an "important discovery."
"Deep water fish have been little studied here and it's very difficult to get information about that environment. The sad thing is that environment is being devastated by industrial fishing so species new to science are likely disappearing even before they are discovered," said Adriano Lima, an Ichthyologist at Rio de Janeiro's National Museum.
Scientists have identified about 25,000 fish species in the world but suspect there may be as many as 40,000 yet to be discovered.
Soto said it was rare that such a large vertebrate animal should be undiscovered but that the deep waters off Brazil's coast have not been extensively explored.
He claimed to have discovered three other new species that he is still in the process of describing.
Chimaera evolved 400 million years ago during the Devonian Period and are one of the oldest fish species alive today.
Indeed the world's smallest vertebrate...
It's not Brazilian, but this seemed the closest match.
I notice it's Australian, that seems inevitable, Australia seems well stocked with weird animals, and poisonous animals, and weird poisonous animals....
Back to the microfiche....
The stout infantfish lives exclusively in Australia's Great Barrier Reef and the nearby Coral Sea
The smallest, lightest animal with a backbone has been described for the first time, by scientists in the US.
The miniscule fish, called a stout infantfish, is only about 7mm (just under a quarter of an inch) long.
It lives around Australia's Great Barrier Reef and has snatched the "world's smallest vertebrate" title from the 1cm-long dwarf goby fish.
The infantfish, which is no longer than the width of a pencil, is described in the Records of the Australian Museum.
The first specimen of the tiny creature (Schindleria brevipinguis) was collected way back in 1979, by the Australian Museum's Jeff Leis, during fieldwork in the Lizard Island region of the Great Barrier Reef.
Philip Hastings, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
But the creature was not properly studied for years, until HJ Walker of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, California, US, and William Watson of the Southwest Fisheries Science Center, La Jolla, US, picked up the case.
"It was a really good day when I first looked under the microscope and recognised something that I knew was a new species," said Dr Walker. "But at the time I didn't realise that I was looking at the world's smallest vertebrate."
Only six specimens of the stout infantfish have ever been found.
The females - at around 8.4mm - seem to be bigger than males, who usually measure in at a diminutive 7mm. They are what scientist term "paedomorphic", which means they retain many infantile characteristics, even when adult.
The stout infantfish gets its name from its babyish features, and the fact that it is unusually stout compared to other species of infantfish.
Its tiny frame is matched by its short lifespan, which is thought to be a mere two months. This quick turnover might actually work in the fish's favour, allowing it to keep up with a world that is changing fast.
"It's interesting that these animals experience several generations a year," said Dr Watson. "This suggests they could evolve quickly as well.
Scientist HJ Walker with a jar holding the World's smallest vertebrate
"They live in a specialised habitat that could be threatened by global warming or human development, but they may have the ability to evolve as fast as their environment changes."
Philip Hastings, the curator of the Scripps Marine Vertebrates Collection, says the identification of the stout infantfish is another demonstration that scientists do not yet have a complete picture of marine animals.
"Anytime a scientist identifies an 'extreme' in the world it is important," said Dr Hastings. "Think about the whole envelope of life. Most of us systematists describe things that fill in the dots in the middle of the envelope.
"This new discovery is pushing the edge, increasing the size of the envelope.
"It's important because it demonstrates that we're still expanding our knowledge of the limits of the diversity that's present on this planet and there are still significant discoveries to me made."
Didn't quite know where to post this. I love reading reports where a new animal or plant is 'discovered' by science, only to have been known to native peoples for centuries upon centuries.
New bird spotted in Philippines
By Alex Kirby
BBC News Online environment correspondent
An international expedition has found a bird species new to science on a remote island in the northern Philippines.
The team of Filipino and UK researchers discovered the bird, a rail, living by a stream in the forests of Calayan.
They think the birds number only about 200 pairs at most, and since they are found nowhere else they might soon be at risk from development pressures.
They say the Calayan rail is flightless "or nearly so": it belongs to a global family including coots and moorhens.
The expedition was funded by the UK-based Oriental Bird Club and the Rufford Small Grant Committee.
Rufford Small Grants are UK awards of up to £5,000 (,215) aimed at small conservation programmes and pilot projects.
The discovery of the Calayan rail is described in Forktail, a journal of Asian ornithology published by the OBC.
The researchers, the Babuyan Islands expedition team, were surveying the birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians of the Babuyan group at the northern end of the Philippines archipelago.
On 11 May one of the team, Carmela Espanola, was walking in the forest almost 1,000 feet (300 m) up the slopes of Calayan when she spotted a small group of unfamiliar dark brown birds with distinctive orange-red bills and legs near a stream.
Her notes and photographs, with her recordings of their loud, harsh and rasping calls, helped to establish that the birds were new to science, though not to the island's people, who call them "piding".
The team saw adult and juvenile birds several times over the next few days round their rainforest camp, and estimated there are probably 100-200 pairs in the area, which contains coralline limestone outcrops, caves and small streams.
In order to register the rail as a new species the expedition had to kill one bird, and when they dissected it they found its flight muscles were too weak to carry it far, prompting their conclusion that it is "almost" flightless.
Richard Thomas, or BirdLife International, told BBC News Online: "The Calayan rail has never been seen to fly, but it may be like the Okinawa rail, which flutters up into the trees like a chicken in order to roost."
Of the 20 species or subspecies of rail that have become extinct since 1600, 90% were flightless.
Most members of the rail family are waterbirds, though in tropical parts of Asia many are forest dwellers like the Calayan rail.
Genevieve Broad, the co-leader of the expedition, said: "I felt sure the Babuyan Islands would hold some interesting discoveries, but I didn't expect to find a totally new species.
"I hope this will bring the recognition these islands deserve as an important site of biological diversity."
The island's population numbers about 8,500 people, and there is thought to be no imminent threat to the rails.
But conservationists are concerned that new roads around the island and to its centre could mean new settlements, habitat loss and introduced predators like cats and rats, which have been implicated in most flightless rail extinctions.
Close-up images courtesy and copyright of Des Allen, rail in forest by Carmela Espanola .
Listening to the news report this morning, it would appear the the planned new road is part of an attempt to bring more tourism to the Island which is about 70 miles north of the main Island of the Philipines, so it may very well be "hello and goodbye" to the Calayan rail, but I hope not.
I once watched a TV programme where some researchers on a boat thought they had discovered a new species if fish. The only difference with this fish is that it had an extra rib. They drag netted 100s and 100s of fish, killed them and cut them open to count the ribs and find out how many of these fish had this and to check it was not just one freak they found (it wasn't). They all looked really pleased with themselves as well.:cross eye
The rules for naming species specify that a holotype, or 'type specimen' must exist in a museum collection somewhere, so that researchers can use this as a reference point when referring to this species in the future.
As we don't appear to have a thread dedicated to newly discovered animals, I thought I'd start one
Leech found in Salem County may be scientific breakthrough
Monday, October 4, 2004
By KIM MULFORD
Bill Ott thought he found a little black snake.
He had no idea the creature wriggling in his hands might be an undiscovered species.
Ott was mowing the lawn on a hot sunny Saturday morning in July 2003 when he noticed a 10-inch-long creature winding along a pebble-pocked dirt channel.
He scooped it up and thought it looked more like a really weird worm.
Ott took it up to the house to show his wife, Carol, who always took care of the snakes, turtles, rabbits and other creatures her husband and their 16-year-old son brought home.
When she saw the segmented ink-black thing twisting through her husband's hands, she put it in a glass bowl with rocks and water. Then she identified it as a leech.
But it was nothing like the leeches she used to pull off her legs after swimming in the local pond.
One difference was its size. When stretched out, it was about a foot long, with a sucker on one end and a pointy head on the other.
And unlike other leeches, it didn't like water. She spent days trying to learn more about it, losing sleep over it and worrying whether she could keep it alive.
Thinking it was a blood-sucker, she bought a baby mouse for it. When the leech ignored it, she put in some earthworms. They were gone in a half-hour.
"It was so cool," said Carol Ott, a 51-year-old secretary.
The Otts' leech is more than just cool, said Dan Shain, an evolutionary biologist at Rutgers-Camden and one of the few leech experts in the country.
Shain said he believes it might be a new species of Haemopis, a North American terrestrial leech.
Most leeches are aquatic. The much-rarer terrestrial variety usually live in the tropics. Until now, the only North American terrestrial leech could be found mostly in the Midwest, South and Southeast.
When Carol found Shain on the Internet and e-mailed him about her discovery, he didn't believe it.
"I thought two things," Shain said. "That Carol was just making it up or that her neighbor had gotten an exotic pet and it had escaped."
When Carol Ott then took the leech to Shain's house, the laid-back scientist from Berkeley, Calif., was quite excited by what she delivered to his door.
Shain goes on expeditions across the world to find leeches, takes students to muck around local ponds collecting specimens and recently won a 5,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study the cocoons of leeches.
But he had never seen anything like this.
"This is one of the biggest leeches found in North America, period," Shain said.
If only they could find another one.
Leeches are related to worms; they are hermaphroditic, with both male and female reproductive organs.
After a year living in the lap of luxury in Shain's lab, Piwi - as he is affectionately called - has yet to reproduce. Last year, Piwi made two egg cases but there was nothing inside.
Without a mate for Piwi, there is little that can be done to learn more about him. A second leech would mean a colony could be grown and allow Shain to dissect the creature and conduct a DNA analysis.
"I'm actually quite desperate to find another one," Shain said.
Without more specimens, it can't be determined whether this is a new species, said Mark J. Wetzel, a research scientist with the Illinois Natural History Survey's Center for Biodiversity in Champaign, Ill.
Shain called Wetzel to ask about the Otts' discovery.
Wetzel is curator of a collection of worms that includes the only known terrestrial leech in North America, the Haemopis terrestris. That leech is gray with black and yellow markings.
Wetzel described Shain as a good scientist who wouldn't identify something as possibly being a new species unless Shain really thought it was.
If it is a new species, Wetzel said, that's of high interest to scientists who work with annelids.
"He was hoping to find more," Wetzel said. "I wished him good hunting."
Piwi is treated like a king. His water, a saline solution, is changed every few days.
Piwi also lives at room temperature in his own tank rather than in a refrigerator with hundreds of other leeches Shain stores. That's because Shain isn't sure how Piwi would respond to lower temperatures.
Piwi also is fed a fat, hand-picked earthworm every other week.
Shain, who uses latex gloves when handling Piwi so he won't get sick, has made observations even with just a single specimen.
For one thing, Piwi has very sharp teeth and can be downright barbaric when it comes to eating.
"If you put a worm in there, he'll just suck it down