You Can’t Top Mother Nature

Institute Picks Top 10 New Species                                                   from 18,000 Identified in Past Year

Lyre Sponge (Chondrocladia lyra), Northeast Pacific, undated/ MBARI, ASU, The Guardian

Yes, you read that right. According to Quentin Wheeler, PhD, director of the International Institute for Species Exploration, some 18,000 previously unknown forms of life were identified on this planet in the last year alone. The Lyre sponge, above, discovered in the deep ocean off California, is one that made the Institute’s 6th Annual Top 10 New Species List. The Glow-in-the-Dark Cockroach, below, is another.

Glow-in-the-Dark Cockroach (Lucihormetica luckae), Ecuador/Peter Vrsansky & Dusan Chorvat, ASU, The Guardian

Selecting 10 favorites from 18,000 candidates wasn’t easy, Wheeler writes in an article in The Guardian. But it was nothing compared to what many scientists see as the approaching challenge of deciding which species can and should be saved from “the biodiversity crisis of the 21st century,” during which “more than half of all species could disappear in the next 100 years.”

Yes, you read that right, too. If we don’t act now, some scientists believe, and if now isn’t already too late, half of all species on this planet — including the recently identified Lesula monkey, another Top 10 pick, shown below — could soon disappear in what would rank, writes Wheeler, as “only the sixth mass extinction event in Earth history.”

Lesula monkey (Cercopithecus lomamiensis), Democratic Republic of the Congo/Maurice Emetshu, ASU, The Guardian

Do any of us really want this to happen? Wouldn’t we all want to do what we can to prevent it if we really understood what’s at stake? That’s what the scientists who compiled this list are hoping.

“The list is a kind of scientific shock-and-awe campaign,” writes Wheeler, “shocking us at what we did not know about our own planet and leaving us in awe over the diversity, complexity, wonder and beauty of the living world.”

Which only we can save.

  • See a slideshow of this year’s Top 10 New Species here.
  • View previous annual Top 10 New Species lists here.
  • Learn more about the International Institute for Species Preservation here.
  • Learn more about IISP Director Quentin Wheeler, PhD, here.
  • Read Dr. Wheeler’s article in The Guardian here.

Close up w:Little Gash

Happy Holiday Weekend

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2 Responses to You Can’t Top Mother Nature

  1. Michael Weber says:

    What a wonderful treat, Gini, to receive this; I’ve already shared part of it with a four year old friend! Now I’d like to share something with you: tom shannon; he is an artist in New York who I met last saturday and I found his work to be absolutely mind boggling. Look him up and you’ll see what I mean! We have a new granddaughter, named Asa Lavender Martin. She is a peanut of a little girl. Her big brother, Julian Edward Martin, is quite a guy. Here are some pictures. Hope you and Mark are well. We are. Love, Michael

    • Oh, Michael,how wonderful, as always, to hear from you. Congratulations on being a new grandpa. Asa Lavender. What a beautiful name. And thanks for the lead on Tom Shannon. I’ll definitely check out his work. The photos you’ve sent don’t seem to have come through. I’ll check again. If not, I’ll email you, and perhaps you can resend? I’d love to see them.

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