A fuzzy-faced, tree-living carnivore, a transparent snail and ice-clinging anemones are among the top new species discovered in the last year.
The 2014 top 10 list, put together by the International Institute for Species Exploration at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, highlights the most amazing species discovered in 2013. According to the institute, this year’s Top 10 New Species come from a field of 18,000 newfound species named in 2013.
“The top 10 is designed to bring attention to the unsung heroes [who are] addressing the biodiversity crisis by working to complete an inventory of Earth’s plants, animals and microbes,” Quentin Wheeler, the president of the college, said in a statement. “Each year a small, dedicated community of taxonomists and curators substantively improves our understanding of the diversity of life and the wondrous ways in which species have adapted for survival.”
The species honored with a place on the top 10 list range from plant to animal to fungus. Perhaps the cuddliest is the olinguito (Bassaricyon neblina), a mini-carnivore that lives in the trees of Andean cloud forests. The animal had been known for decades and even shown in zoos, but it wasn’t until researchers did a thorough examination of the skulls of this creature and its relatives that the scientists noticed they had a new species on their hands.
Meanwhile, in Antarctica, scientists with the Antarctic Geological Drilling Program (ANDRILL) stumbled upon something bizarre while piloting remotely operated underwater vehicles beneath the ice sheet: The underside of the ice looked fuzzy.