The Bosavi Silky Cuscus, discovered in Papua New Guinea during 2009. [image courtesy of Jonny Keeling/BBC]
I was curious to know where the majority of new animal discoveries had been made across the world in recent times. This is by no means an exhaustive account of every new organism found over the last seven years, however, it does include all noteworthy new species of mammal, bird, amphibian, fish, reptile, insect and other invertebrates. Here’s the top 10 of species new to science found by location, with the entire list to follow:
- Australia – 1001.
- Papua New Guinea – 356.
- Borneo – 301.
- Tasmania – 275.
- Madagascar – 248.
- Indonesia – 131.
- Surinam – 130.
- Antarctica – 102.
- Ecuador – 63.
- Tanzania – 60.
You may be surprised to see Australia at the top. 850 of these new species were invertebrates found in one expedition to survey the underground cave systems of the Outback. Similarly, virtually all of Tasmania’s total is made up of small marine life found in the seas around the island. In terms of new land species, Papua New Guinea is clearly king. Additionally, almost all of Antarctica’s discoveries have been of marine life. Did you know that since 1993, well over 400 new mammal species have been uncovered and that 18,000 undescribed creatures were found last year alone ? Makes you wonder what else is still out there.
The photo below is an example of another new mammal found during the Papua New Guinea expedition to the extinct volcanic crater, Mount Bosavi. It’s a Bosavi Woolly Rat that happens to be the size of a domestic cat! It was found, along with the cuscus, during filming for the BBC’s Lost Land of the Volcano series. The expedition party would have been the first human contact the wildlife would have ever encountered inside the crater. Both creatures were remarkably tame and greeted the scientists and film crew with a curiosity that you would only find in a handful of habitats left untouched by humankind in the world. [image courtesy of Jonny Keeling/BBC]
New species country list beyond the top 10.