Alas, We Barely Knew You......

on Thursday, September 04, 2008

Even as the already high rate of species extinction is likely to accelerate with global warming (see previous post), new species continue to be discovered. This shows that we do not know enough about the plants and animals in our world and many are disappearing before we even learn about them. So when new species are discovered, I cheer for the discovery but eventually I get bummed by the thought of species loss. Still, I hope these two recent discoveries will be of interest to you.


THE OLIVE-BACKED FOREST ROBIN

Scientists at the Smithsonian Institution have discovered a new
species of bird in Gabon, Africa, that was, until now, unknown to the
scientific community. Their findings were published in the
international science journal Zootaxa today, Aug. 15.


The newly found olive-backed forest robin (Stiphrornis pyrrholaemus)
was named by the scientists for its distinctive olive back and rump.
Adult birds measure 4.5 inches in length and average 18 grams in
weight. Males exhibit a fiery orange throat and breast, yellow belly,
olive back and black feathers on the head. Fem
ales are similar, but
less vibrant. Both sexes have a distinctive white dot on their face in
front of each eye.

PLEASE read the entire article at EurekAlert!


WORLD'S SMALLEST SNAKE

Excerpt from BBC News:

By Jennifer Carpenter

Science reporter, BBC News



The world’s smallest snake, averaging just 10cm (4 inches) and
as thin as a spaghetti noodle, has been discovered on the Caribbean
island of Barbados.


The snake, found beneath a rock in a tiny fragment of threatened
forest, is thought to be at the very limit of how small a snake can
evolve to be.


Females produce only a single, massive egg - and the young hatch at half of their adult body weight.


This new discovery is described in the journal Zootaxa.


The snake - named Leptotyphlops carlae - is the smallest of
the 3,100 known snake species and was uncovered by Dr Blair Hedges, a
biologist from Penn State University, US.


Read the full article at BBC News online.


21 comments:

cabcree said...

both those are very cool! especially the very tiny snake. :) glad you shared.

tsduff said...

What a tiny robin, as compared to our American robin. Pretty - I wonder how he sings? The little snake is a cute discovery - lucky nobody stepped on him. One massive egg... wow - must be a real bummer to lay.

VioletSky said...

Great to see there is still something left to discover out in the wild!

Dr.John said...

Don't feel so bad. Many species became extinct long before man showed up.

Janice Thomson said...

What a gorgeous little bird. I'm surprised it has taken this long to find him when he has such vivid colours and markings.
How interesting about the little snake - can't imagine it would take much to feed him. I wonder if birds look at it as just a worm...

Marja said...

The little bird is beautiful with all these colours. I am not very keen on that snake. he might crawl in your shoes. I've got a blogging friend in Barbados I shall ask her about it

geewits said...

This new season of "Survivor" was filmed in Gabon. Now I'm going to be looking for that bird when I watch the show. It's cute little thing.

mago said...

I very much like these small feather balls. Thank you!

Joyce's Ramblings said...

Nature has so many surprises and beautiful things.
How do we know what is out there with all the new discoveries? The snake I could do without but who am I to decide?

Sincerity said...

How beautiful are the creations God has made! His imagination is beyond limit!

I would have mistaken that tiny snake for a worm if I had found him. And what a job for the poor mama snake!

The little, exotic Robin is just gorgeous! I too wonder what his song sounds like. I imagine its as beautiful and sweet as his colors! :)

meggie said...

This makes me wonder how many other species have lived & perished without our having recorded, or even noticed them?
Do scientists have any real solutions to offer?

Jo said...

LGS, these two recent posts are fascinating. I'm amazed at how many people (scientists?) are still trying to deny climate change is really happening, in the face of all the overwhelming evidence. I am afraid that, along with the new species of animals, we are going to discover new species of microbes too that will cause epidemics and pandemics that the human race will not be able to withstand.

It's really frightening, and folks need to start paying attention.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

cabcree,
Thanks. Glad the snake did not creep you out.

tsduff,
I ditto your comment on the egg.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

violetsky,
It is believed there could be as much as a million species left undiscovered although it is rare for larger animals like mammals and birds.

dr. john,
Probably true, unfortunately.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

janice,
it does look like a worm, doesn't it?

marja,
Interesting to know what your friend says.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

geewits,
Gabon? That's gotta be tough.

mago,
are you a bird watcher?

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

joyce,
If you had to touch a snake, perhaps it would be easier with this small one?

sincerity,
Indeed a tough job for the mama snake!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

meggie,
Solution? The solution cannot be one of science but one of conscience.

jo,
I agree with what you say about new bugs and diseases.

Eastcoastdweller said...

Each of these species -- and all species -- are a different book in the library of the universe, a unique DNA combination, a bit of brave life filling up a niche in nature.

We have a slightly larger species of snake here, which burrows like a worm in the dirt and you'd think that it was just a big worm but for the tiny eyes and tongue. I stumbled upon a nest of them in my garden plot a few years ago.

squirrelmama said...

Bravo for new discoveries, for mother nature's incessant creativity and will to survive and go forward, and especially for the two special creatures who have made headlines!

Lisa said...

That robin is beautiful and I feel the same way, when I read or hear that a new species was found, I rejoice but it is short lived because all too soon later I hear of another close to extinction.
My heart hurts for this planet.

Lisa

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