We’ve mapped the world, discovered all the continents (though Atlantis remains elusive), and sometimes it feels like there’s nothing new to find on our little blue planet. But Earth is still full of mysteries and surprises!
Scientists find new plant and animal species nearly every day and it proves that there are still adventures to be had in the deep corners of the world. So if you’ve ever harbored ambitions of being an Indiana Jones-esque scientist, your dream can still come true. In 2019, more than a dozen researchers from the California Academy of Sciences added a stunning 71 new species to our family tree.
Among these freshly found species are 17 fish, 15 geckos, 8 flowering plants, 6 sea slugs, 5 arachnids, 4 eels, 3 ants, 3 skinks, 2 skates, 2 wasps, 2 mosses, 2 corals, and 2 lizards. They were found across 5 continents and 3 oceans. And while we applaud the fact that there are more species of gecko on Planet Earth, we’re worried about there being more species of wasp, too.
We’ve included some of the very best photos of these new species, so scroll down, upvotes your favorites, and let everyone know in the comments what you thought about each one. And be sure to read Bored Panda’s interview with a representative of the California Academy of Sciences below.
According to a representative of the California Academy of Sciences, this year’s list of new species was “a little lower” than usual, but “full of mighty finds.”
“Since 2010, Academy scientists have described 1,375 species—quite a number! Here are numbers from previous years this decade:
2010 (113 [new species])
The Academy representative told Bored Panda that “it takes years of training, collaboration with colleagues and local residents in a given region, and species expertise for scientists to properly identify and collect species in the wild.”
“As with many species—like twilight zone reef fish and insects—there is sometimes only a tiny window of a few seconds for a scientist to act quickly and collect a specimen in the wild. It can take years of training and support to help that scientist make important, well-informed, split-second decisions in the field!”
Classifying new species isn’t without its obstacles and things like lack of funding or training can seriously hinder us from solving life’s mysteries. “It's especially hard to secure funding for maintaining collections staff, taking adequate care of specimens, and training/retaining new scientists with the expertise to confirm that a new species discovery is truly new to science.”