Since it’s the time of year for top ten lists and other such year-in-review roundups, here are some links about new species discovered or described in 2010.
First, a photo gallery from National Geographic that mostly features herps. Background info on the species is limited but the pictures are pretty.
NatGeo also gives us a list of its ten weirdest new animals of the year, one of which I’ve mentioned in an etymology post previously.
I really like this top ten list from the International Institute for Species exploration, because it features greater taxonomic diversity (there are plants and fungi, not just animals) and explains both the etymology of each organism’s name and the reasons it’s in their top ten. (P.S. one of these will be in an upcoming “what’s in a scientific name” post…you can probably guess which one.) This list is for species described in 2009, and the list for 2010 species will come out in spring 2011.
There’s a dearth of celebration for new plant species in the news, but here’s a great BBC article about a study that estimated that half of the world’s undescribed plant species may already be in museum/herbarium collections, just waiting for a taxonomist to get around to describing them. This kind of validates a point I’ve made in a previous post, I think.
Here are a couple of other news reports about new plant species discovered this year in Bolivia, China, and Indonesia. Unfortunately, these articles are low on details and pictures. Like I said, plants get no love.
It’s a sobering fact that >99% of all species that have ever lived are now extinct, and many of these haven’t been discovered. Some exciting new fossil taxa announced this year include the early hominin Australopithecis sediba, a possible new species of Homo, 8 invertebrates from Kootenay National Park that are contemporaries of the famous Burgess Shale assemblage, a giant penguin, two large filter-feeding fish, and, of course, a giant hobbit-eating (well, maybe) stork.
Last but obviously not least, a compilation of all newly described dinosaurs of 2010. It seems to have been a good year for ceratopsids.