|Record Number of New Species
When a new species is discovered, scientists are usually happy. This year
they must be feeling positively gleeful. Scientists estimate that approximately
20,000 new species will be discovered this year.
A Reason for Discovery
That is not all good news. One of the reasons for this flood of new
discoveries is the loss of habitat of these animals. Melting sea ice and
disappearing rain forest have made the discoveries easier, but it means that the
animals are probably in severe danger of extinction. Scientists may find new
species only to have them disappear.
Another reason for new discoveries of species is DNA
testing. It can give a clearer picture of the differences between species
than a purely physical
continued in next column
| examination can do. Two species that
look identical can have very different DNA making them separate species.
All these newly discovered animals have made it difficult to keep track of
them and to name them. A new web-based data system has been developed called
ZooBank that will help scientists know what others have found.
What is a New Species?
While we say that these species are "new," it does not mean that they have
just appeared like a new toy. It means that scientists just did not know about
them. The species may have been living for a long time; but scientists have just
McKie, Robin and Corbyn, Zoe.
"Record haul of 20,000 new species expected,"
UK Observer . London: Sunday, September 25, 2005.