Had a nice surprise the other day! I found a list of top 10 new species discovered by science in 2011!
What I love about these discoveries is how, even in this day and age with all our fancy technology, there are STILL creatures roaming this earth and its seas, that were previously unknown to us. This is what gives me hope that creatures like Bigfoot and other cryptids, who have been seen by some very reliable witnesses (law enforcement, military, professionals), will be found in the near future.
Now get this – these ten species of creatures and plants were picked from a selection of 200 nominees!! For the year 2011 alone! The photo to the right is a composite of pictures of each of these creatures/plants.
Are you wondering WHO determined the winners on this list? The International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University along with a committee of scientists from around the world.
Quentin Wheeler, an entomologist who directs the International Institute for Species Exploration at ASU, said, “The top 10 is intended to bring attention to the biodiversity crisis and the unsung species [found by] explorers and museums who continue a 250-year-old tradition of discovering and describing the millions of kinds of plants, animals, and microbes with whom we share this planet.” Not to mention quite a few cryptids, if they did but know it! LOL!
Criteria to Win
According to Mary Liz Jameson, an associate professor at Wichita State University who chaired the international selection committee, winners were chosen if they “… capture(d) our attention because they are unusual or because they have traits that are bizarre. Some of the new species have interesting names; some highlight what little we really know about our planet.” Amen to that!
And the Winners Are
Here’s a rundown of the creatures found in 2011:
Sneezing Monkey: Rhinopithecus strykeri (see below), named in honor of Jon Stryker, president and founder of the Arcus Foundation. This is a snub-nosed monkey from Myanmar, believed to be critically endangered. It has mostly black fur with a white beard and sneezes when it rains!
Bonaire banded box jelly: Tamoya ohboya (see below), a beautiful but venomous jellyfish that looks like a box kite with colorful long tails. This animal has been seen near the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire.
Devil’s worm: Halicephalobus mephisto (see below). This creature is tiny, about 0.5 mm (0.02 inches) in length and they live at the deepest depth ever discovered, 1.3 km (8/10 of a mile) down in the earth’s crust. They were found in a South African gold mine. These worms not only survive the immense pressure at that depth, but high temperatures, too (37 degrees C, or 98.6 F).
Night-blooming Orchid: Bulbophyllum nocturnum (see below; photo by Andre Schuiteman). A rare orchid from Papua New Guinea, this beauty blooms around 10 PM and closes its bloom early the next morning. It is believed to be the first night blooming orchid among more than 25,000 known species of orchids.
Parasitic wasp: Lollasmosoma sentum (see below). This little wasp flies about one centimeter (less than a half inch) above the ground in search of its prey – ants. The wasp finds an ant, deposits one egg from above in less than 1/20 of a second and flies off. These wasps were found in Madrid, Spain.
SpongeBob Square Pants Mushrooms: Spongiforma squarepantsii (see below). So named because this mushroom looks more like a sponge, than a mushroom! The mushroom smells fruity, and when it is fruiting, you can squeeze it and it will open up again to its original shape, just like a sponge! They are found in forests on the island of Borneo in Malaysia.
Nepalese Autumn poppy: Meconopsis autumnalis (see below). This poppy lives at high altitudes in mountains ranging from 10,827 to 13,780 feet and blooms in the fall. This poppy was probably known to natives in the area, but botanists only recently officially found it.
Giant millipede: Crurifarcimen vagans (see below). OK, I could live without this one! This millipede giant is about the length of a sausage measuring about 16 centimeters (6.3 inches) in length and 1.5 cm (0.6 inches) in diameter. Found in Tanzania’s Eastern Arc Mountains, they average 56 podous rings (body segments), each with two pairs of legs. Ugh!
Walking cactus (lobopod fossil): Diania cactiformis (see reconstructed model below). This animal looks more like a walking cactus than an animal. It belongs to an extinct group called the armoured Lobopodia, which had wormlike bodies and multiple pairs of legs. It may share a common ancestry with arthropods like insects and spiders.
Sazima’s Tarantula: Pterinopelma sazimai (see below). Found in Brazil, this hairy iridescent-blue tarantula is supposedly beautiful. It’s found in island ecosystems on flat-top mountains.
I find these discoveries exciting and my hope is that one day, we see a bigger mammal on this list once and for all!
Til the next time!