The Coolest-Looking New Species Of 2014

PopSci's pick of the litter
photo of a small elephant shrew
Hey there, little guy. This is a round-eared sengi, or elephant shrew, that lives in southwestern Africa. A team of researchers from California and Namibia declared in June that it was a new species, Macroscelides micus. Strangely enough, Macroscelides micus is actually more closely related to elephants than it is to true shrews. It belongs to an animal grouping called Afrotheria, which includes a number of animals thought to have evolved in Africa, including aarvarks and manatees, in addition to elephants. Galen Rathbun/California Academy of Sciences

The world is so abundant with strange species, scientists describe new ones every year. Here at Popular Science, we picked a few of our favorites from this year to share. This is a small fraction of the species scientists name in a year. Just today, the California Academy of Sciences reported its biologists named 221 new plants and animals in 2014, and of course, other universities and groups make their own discoveries.

photo of two children looking at a meters-wide jellyfish on a beach
photo of a captive Amazon River dolphin
photo of a cricket-like insect standing on a leaf
photo of the head of a gold-colored bat
photo of a translucent, shiny, many-branched slug on a piece of coral