AUG 31, 2017 7:21 AM PDT

381 New Species Discovered in the Amazon, But There's Bad News...

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) announced on Friday the discovery of at least 381 new species throughout the Amazon rainforest during a study conducted between 2014 and 2015. Experts discovered the new species at a rate of one every 1.9 days, the fastest rate of new species discovery this century.

Among the new species discovered were 216 plants, 93 fish, 32 amphibians, 20 mammals, 19 reptiles, and a lone bird. Worthy of note, at least two of the newly-discovered mammals were fossils rather than living creatures.

The Western Puffbird (Nystalus obamai) was the only new bird species discovered in the Amazon between 2014-2015.

Image Credit: EPA

While discovering new organisms at this unprecedented rate of speed is great news for science, there is some bad news attached too: these new species all reside in a place being impacted by human activity, and many are at risk of endangerment or extinction.

Related: 163 new species discovered in the Greater Mekong region

Activities like deforestation, land development, mining, and dam-building all have the potential to wreak havoc on the Amazon and its delicate ecosystem.

The fact that we’ve found so many new species in the Amazon in such a short time highlights just how little we know about the biome today. Unfortunately, human activity could adversely impact the newly-discovered organisms before science gets a chance to study them fully.

“We’re in 2017, verifying the existence of new species and even though resources are scarce, we are seeing an immense variety and richness of biodiversity. This is a signal that we still have much to learn about the Amazon,” said Ricardo Mello, coordinator of WWF-Brazil Amazon Programme.

Not only do we know very little about the newly-discovered species, but there could be more organisms residing in the Amazon that have yet to be discovered. With that in mind, protecting the Amazon and the wildlife it supports is critical for animal conservation, as the biome preserves a significant percentage of the world’s unique wildlife.

“This biodiversity needs to be known and protected. Studies indicate that the greatest economic potential of a region such as the Amazon is the inclusion of biodiversity in the technological solutions of a new development model, including the development of cures for diseases, relying on new species for food purposes, such as superfoods,” Mello continued.

It will be challenging to protect these newly-discovered species, but if we move forward with disturbing nature at our current pace, we may never get to study the full biodiversity of our planet in full before it's too late.

Source: WWF

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
DEC 19, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
DEC 19, 2019
The Science Behind Christmas
The holiday season is upon us, and to wrap-up the year and get you into the holiday spirit, we are dedicating the last infographic to Christmas. After all, what's a better way to celebrate...
DEC 19, 2019
Earth & The Environment
DEC 19, 2019
Tiny Fossils Reveal California's Ocean Acidification History
A century’s worth of microscopic shells has revealed that ocean acidification is occurring in California waters at twice the rate of the global avera...
JAN 12, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 12, 2020
This is Why You Shouldn't Mess With Beached Whales
When large whales die, one of two things can happen: 1) their bodies can sink to the bottom of the ocean and go on to support smaller life forms; or 2) the...
JAN 17, 2020
Cardiology
JAN 17, 2020
Eating Walnuts Reduces Risk for Heart Disease
Walnuts may be more than just a tasty snack. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have found that they may also promote healthy gut bacteria, wh...
FEB 02, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 02, 2020
Noasaurid Fossil Confirms Cretaceous Existence on Australia
A class of two-legged carnivorous dinosaur dubbed noasaurids are said to have existed in later half of the Cretaceous Era, but our understanding of their g...
FEB 10, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 10, 2020
Mudskippers Aren't Like Most Fish...
Most fish spend almost all of their lives in a body of water, be it the ocean or some smaller lake or stream. Mudskippers, on the other hand, are a unique...
Loading Comments...