AUG 31, 2017 07:21 AM PDT

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

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
SEP 19, 2018
Genetics & Genomics
SEP 19, 2018
Forensic Efforts To Combat Ivory Poaching
Scientists are using DNA testing to identify poaching hotspots, and criminal networks....
SEP 25, 2018
Plants & Animals
SEP 25, 2018
Marine Animal Plastic Ingestion Data Leaves a Lot to be Desired
Most people would agree that plastic pollution is a problem that we can no longer afford to ignore; especially in that of our oceans. The rate at which uns...
OCT 01, 2018
Plants & Animals
OCT 01, 2018
First Lion Cubs Born Via Artificial Insemination Prove Healthy
At first glance, these two South African lion cubs probably look exactly like any other pair of South African lion cubs would; however, looks can be deceiv...
OCT 09, 2018
Plants & Animals
OCT 09, 2018
Study Suggests Courteous Chimps Live Longer Lives
There are two kinds of chimpanzees in this world: 1) those that act aggressive toward others to assert their dominance over the rest of the troop, and 2) t...
OCT 15, 2018
Plants & Animals
OCT 15, 2018
Shelled Marine Creatures Face Worrisome Future Amid Acidifying Oceans
Many shelled animals, including the humble sea snail, call the ocean their home. But as increased carbon dioxide levels make ocean water more acidic, these...
NOV 06, 2018
Plants & Animals
NOV 06, 2018
Why Bald Eagles Have Such Great Vision
The bald eagle is an incredible creature, not just for its beauty, but also because of its astonishing eyesight capabilities. Experts estimate that the bal...
Loading Comments...