Sunday, October 15, 2006

New animals and birds in 2006! 

This post has been sitting for a while as I seem to keep needing to add new discoveries to it.

This year has been another fine one for crytozoology, with naturalists batting above the annual average of three new bird species discoveries worldwide - we're already well ahead. Among the mammals there are quite a few new ones, with some from unexpected locations, plus the rediscovery and tagging of a Cuban solenodon (one strange beast, that!), thought extinct. Among mammals last year, there were two new mouse lemurs from Madagascar, and the Australian snubfin dolphin.

12 October 2006
"Big headed 'prehistoric mouse' is alive in Europe"
First off is the Cypriot mouse. (New Scientist)
"A new species of mammal – a mouse with unusually large ears and eyes – has been discovered on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus... In fact, the genetic evidence shows it to be an "ancient relic", closer to its prehistoric ancestor than any modern cousin."

(National Geographic News covers most of the recent bird discoveries, but I've noted sources and linked. Of course, these discoveries are most often a sign that we're exploring the world's last wildernesses, but possibly it's better to do this than log them first (which is a real possibility in many of these areas).

10 October 2006
New bird discovered in Columbia (National Geographic)
"The fist-size bird with punk-rock plumage is a new-and possibly threatened-avian species that makes its home in the last remnants of a remote Colombian cloud forest. Dubbed the Yariguíes brush finch, the small bird was first found in 2004 in an isolated region of the eastern Andes mountain range known as the Serranía de los Yariguíes."

September 30, 2006
Amazon explorers discover 40 new species in a 'lost world' of rainforest (Times Online, pic from Zaxy Wordpress)
"Up to 40 new species of plants and animals, including a bird and a tree rat, have been discovered in an expedition to one of the world’s last unspoilt wildernesses... Besides the rat and the bird, the new species found include seven fish, eight frogs, lizards and snakes, two shrimps and eight plants... The tree rat, from the genus makalata and the size of a large guinea-pig, lives with monkeys in the trees of the Amazonian tropical forest, where it eats only leaves and fruit."

12 September 2006
New bird discovered in India (National Geographic)
"Named Bugun liocichla, the small bird is described as a type of babbler, a diverse family of birds that usually live in tropical forests."

7 February 2006
""Lost World" Found in Indonesia (Foja Mountains, New Guinea) Is Trove of New Species (National Geographic)
"Within minutes of landing, the scientists encountered a bizarre, orange-faced honeyeater bird (see photo). It proved to be a new bird species, the first discovered in New Guinea since 1939. On the second day the lakebed group made another suprising find when a male and female Berlepsch's six-wired bird of paradise came into the camp to perform a mating dance. Until now the homeland of this "lost" bird had been unknown. It was the first time Western scientists had even seen an adult male." Also found were the rare golden-mantled tree kangaroo and 20 new species of frogs, along with 150 new insects and 550 new plants.

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It's so nice to hear of promising new discoveries after hearing about the decline of the environment and the near extinction of many species. It offers hope. Normally I feel a little uneasy with rodent photos, but this mouse is really cute! And I loved the birds.

Thanks for sharing this!
Thanks, Aravis - I still find wildlife discoveries really exciting and fascinating. The world really is still wonderful in a lot of ways!

That Cypriot mouse looks like a cartoon mouse with it's exaggerated ears and eyes. Cute, yes, but if you think that's cute, have a look at one of the new species of giant mouse lemurs discovered last year (from Science News).
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