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How Are New Species Discovered?

Taxonomy — the exploration and classification of species — has been around as a scientific discipline since the 1700s. The discovery of new species is generally performed by taxonomists who go on fieldwork missions to seek out new species in various geographical regions and climates. A physical specimen typically is collected and compared against existing species in a catalog. The discoveries also often happen by accident or via tips from individuals, particularly since the technology for high-definition photography has been available. For example, in 2012, an insect named Semachrysa jade was discovered after a hiker posted a picture from Malaysia on the website Flickr and an entomologist suspected that it was a new species. It was the first known species discovered as a result of social media.

More about new species :

  • The International Institute for Species Exploration estimated that, as of 2012, only 2 million of a possible 12 million living species had been discovered.

  • About 50% of all newly discovered species are insects.

  • Before embarking on fieldwork missions, taxonomists often use the website Google Earth to scout locations that are the most likely to result in the discovery of new species.

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More Info: species.asu.edu

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