Scientists are discovering new species of animals almost every day, according to the BBC. They usually manage to find insects, because they are the largest and most diverse class of living creatures on our planet. However, from time to time, researchers find new fish, birds and even mammals. How many more animals we have to discover in the future, no one knows for sure - new species can live in any corner of the Earth. Recently, American scientists have developed an online map, which indicates in which places it is more likely to meet animals unknown to science. The search for new species must be started immediately, because some animals may become extinct before they are officially discovered. As a result, we will not even know that some amazing organisms lived side by side with us. Let's take a look at the created map and find out in which regions of our planet should we look for new animals? Let's also talk a little about the unusual creatures that were discovered recently.
Animals unknown to science
The creation of a map with approximate habitats of animals unknown to science was described in the scientific journal Nature Ecology & Evolution. When developing the map, scientists collected data on the history of the discovery of about 32 thousand terrestrial vertebrates. Thanks to these data, the researchers were able to guess exactly where and what species of animals might be discovered in the future.
The interface of the card in question
A map with unopened animals is available here. Pay attention to the "Discovery Potential" drop-down list on the right: there you can select amphibians (amphibians), reptiles (reptiles), birds and mammals. Choose one of them and see the map - the darker the colors of the cells, the greater the chance of discovering new species of animals of the selected class. For example, if you select Aves (birds), the map suggests looking for them in South America.
Why do you need to discover new species of animals?
According to the author of the scientific work Walter Jetz, many species of animals are becoming extinct in the world today. The reasons for this are deforestation with the subsequent destruction of the natural habitat of animals, global warming, and so on. It is believed that if researchers do not begin to more actively search for new animal species, some of them may become extinct without even becoming known to science. Gathering more information about the world around us is extremely important for our descendants. It is believed that the map will help focus on important parts of the world and make more scientific discoveries.
A stuffed Japanese otter that became extinct in 2012
Most large animals, humans are already well known to science, because they are hard to miss. Take, for example, the huge Australian birds Emu, whose height reaches 1.8 meters. These creatures were discovered back in 1790 and are still alive. But the tiny frog Brachycephalus guarani was only found by researchers in 2012 - it was truly elusive. Based on this, the question arises: how many more such tiny creatures can be found on our planet? According to the authors of the map, the best places to find them are Brazil, Indonesia, Madagascar and Colombia.
Frog species Brachycephalus guarani
We often write about new species of animals and you can pay attention to the fact that they are mainly insects. It is very rare that scientists manage to find a new species of birds, and so on. This is because birds are very visible, while insects lead an inconspicuous lifestyle and can go unnoticed for millions of years in a row. You don't have to go far for an example. At the end of 2020, I already wrote that Australian researchers managed to find five insects with very bright colors - they were given the names of superheroes from the Marvel universe.
At the moment, many scientists may be looking for new animal species in the wrong places, according to the researchers. It is hoped that they will pay attention to the map and search in a more meaningful way. The map developers are not going to be satisfied with what has already been achieved. It is reported that in the future they will expand it and add information about invertebrates and marine animals, as well as plants. Indeed, there are plants unknown to science in the world, and some of them completely disappear from the face of the Earth. But sometimes nature brings big surprises.