Humans have been classifying species based on their taxonomy for over 250 years. So far, we have catalogued over 1.2 million species, but at least 86% of species on Earth and 91% of species in the ocean have yet to be described.
Over the last decade, we have made quite a few interesting discoveries.
Micro Chameleon (Brookesia micra): 2012
Scientists discovered four new chameleon species in Madagascar, all of which were extremely tiny in size. Brookesia micra was the smallest, just 1.14 inches long. This species is found only on the island of Nosy Hara in Madagascar and lives on the forest floor.
Tapanuli orangutan (Pongo tapanuliensis): 2013
In the past, only two orangutan species were known — the Sumatran orangutan and the Bornean orangutan. Recently, scientists discovered a new species, the Tapanuli orangutan. This orangutan species is found in forest fragments of central, northern and southern Tapanuli, Indonesia.
Purple fairy wrasse (Cirrhilabrus Wakanda): 2019
The purple fairy wrasse was discovered recently because of its remote distribution and preference for mesophotic coral ecosystems. This fish is found along the east coast of Zanzibar, Tanzania. It is about 6 cm in length and inhabits deep shelves between 50-80 m in depth.
Dinizia jueirana-facao: 2017
Dinizia jueirana-facao is a tree that occurs in semi-deciduous forests. It grows at elevations of 40-150 m above sea level and is found in two locations in Brazil. This tree is gigantic, growing up to 130 feet and weighing 62 tonnes. To date, only 25 individuals have been counted in the wild.
The olinguito (Bassaricyon neblina): 2013
This species belongs to the raccoon family and is endemic to the cloud forests of Ecuador and Colombia. It is found at elevations ranging from 5000 to 9000 m above sea level. It is about 14 inches in length, weighs around 2 pounds, has orange-brown woolly fur, and large eyes. The Olinguito is nocturnal and is a solitary animal.
Extinct marsupial lion (Wakaleo schouteni): 2017
Scientists also discovered new species that went extinct millions of years ago! Australian scientists discovered a new species of marsupial lion from fossilized remains. This animal was no bigger than a dog and weighed a little over 20 kg. It is said to have existed 18 to 26 million years ago and was supposedly found in rainforests.
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