Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Scientists find two new species per week along Mekong

Between 1997 and 2007, researchers catalogued 1068 new species along the Greater Mekong, reports Science Daily. The finds include plants (519), fish (279), frogs (88), spiders (88), lizards (46), snakes (22), birds (4), turtles (4), salamanders (2) a toad and mammals (15). The mammals are of particular note as "new mammal discoveries are a rarity in modern science."

In the region, scientists never know where the next species will pop up. The pit viper was discovered "slithering through the rafters of a restaurant", and the Laotian rock rat turned up in a market.

The findings underscore how important it is to preserve our (remaining) wilderness areas. If we're still discovering species, it's hard to fully calculate the loss when we wipeout another forest or pave another plain.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.