It's time once again to celebrate all the weird and wonderful creatures scientists have found on Earth in the past year. Arizona State University compiles an annual list of the top 10 new species found in the last 12 months, and shares the list on May 23, Carl Linnaeus' birthday. The father of classification would no doubt be pleased with some of the names on this list — they include a mushroom named for a cartoon character, a worm named for the Devil and a jellyfish named "Oh Boy," because that's what people should exclaim when they behold it.
The list also includes a terrifyingly skull-looking sneezing monkey; a blue tarantula; a sausage-sized millipede; a night-blooming orchid; and much more.
This little chameleon is one of four miniature lizards identified in Madagascar, adding to our growing list of amazingly teeny animals. The one on the match in this picture is a juvenile, but even the adults max out at 30 millimeters. They're the smallest lizards in the world, and some of the smallest vertebrates found to date.
To the multitude of arguments for protecting rainforest biodiversity, here’s a new addition: An Amazonian fungus could eat our most durable landfill waste. A group of students from Yale found the fungus during an expedition to Ecuador and learned it breaks down polyurethane.
Scientists trekking through the Suriname rainforest, one of the last road-free wilderness areas in the world, turned up a host of animals that conservation biologists believe are new to science. This little guy was just one of them.
This little guy is officially the smallest vertebrate on the planet, averaging 7.7 millimeters in size, less than one-third of an inch. Named Paedophryne amauensis, the new species of frog was discovered in Papua New Guinea, where it lives in leaf detritus on the rainforest floor.
Raw sewage is apparently a gold mine for virologists in search of new quarry — it contains thousands of previously unknown virus species, according to a new study. Hopefully this unique finding will justify the nasty task of sifting through sewage for science.
A new species of dolphin was discovered by Australian zoologists off the coast of Melbourne, after they realized the 150 or so porpoises that were previously thought to be bottlenose dolphins actually differed significantly in skull shape and DNA. That, kids, is why you should always double-check your homework. Or, you know, dolphin skull shape. Same thing.
Cancer patients may feel like they have alien creatures or parasites growing inside their bodies, robbing them of health and vigor. According to one cell biologist, that’s exactly right. The formation of cancers is really the evolution of a new parasitic species.