Tag archives for New Finds
National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Paul Sereno and his team have discovered a new dinosaur species! Pegomastax africanus was only about 2 feet long, and had fangs and was covered with quills like a porcupine’s. Even though it had fangs, this tiny dino ate plants. Because of its small size, Sereno says that “it would be a nice pet–if you could train it not to nip you.”
Would you like to have a dinosaur as a pet?
A new gecko species has been found in Papua New Guinea. This black and gold striped gecko is called Nactus kunan, from the word, kunan, which means “bumblebee” in the local Nali language. Scientists think that this lizard’s coloration helps it stay hidden on the rain forest floor.
Photograph courtesy Robert Fisher, USGS
What’s wrong with this bat’s face? Nothing at all! This is a Griffin’s leaf-nosed bat. It was first seen in Vietnam’s Chu Mom Ray National Park in 2008, but has only recently been confirmed as a new species. Scientists think that the leaf-like features on the bat’s face may help them with echolocation.
Photograph courtesy Vu Dinh Thong
Scientists have discovered a new species of giant amphipods, or shrimp-like animals, in one of the world’s deepest ocean trenches. The Kermadec Trench is found off of the northern coast of New Zealand. The largest of the amphipods is an amazing 11 inches (28 centimeters) long. “Amphipods are common to deep-sea trenches, but they’re usually 2 to 3 centimeters [about an inch] long. They turn up in a matter of minutes like a swarm of bees and simply devour all of the bait,” said Alan Jamieson, a marine biologist at the University of Aberdeen and co-leader of the expedition that found the animals.
Photograph courtesy Oceanlab, University of Aberdeen
Scientists have discovered a new species of dolphin in Australia, and it lives near Melbourne, the second largest city in Australia (by population). About 100 of these dolphins have been found in Port Phillip Bay.
What makes these dolphins different than bottlenose dolphins? Their skulls have a different shape, their dorsal fin is more curved, and they are “tricolored.” Their coloration includes dark gray, mid-gray, and white. The new dolphin has been named the Burrunan dolphin, after an Aboriginal phrase meaning “large fish of the porpoise kind.”
Photograph by Adrian Howard/AFP/Getty Images
Astronomers say three space rocks found near Pluto might actually be new dwarf planets. Astronomer Scott Sheppard and his colleagues used the reflectivity of the space rocks to determine their size. However, because the space rocks are so far away, scientists are not sure if they are spherical (which means they would need to be to be named dwarf planets). There are currently five dwarf planets: Pluto, Eris, Ceres, Haumea, and Makemake.
Illustration courtesy Dana Berry, Kepler/NASA
Is that a snake? Not quite! It’s a newly-discovered species of legless lizard. This is the first legless lizard to be discovered in Southeast Asia, but there are about 200 species of legless lizards found around the world. Although they look like snakes, these animals have external ears like other lizards. Scientists think that snakes evolved from legless lizards.
This lizard is also blind and probably doesn’t need to see since they live underground. Legs and eyes “are simply a waste of energy when you’re working your way through underground tunnels,” says biologist Jenny Daltry of Fauna & Flora International.
Photograph courtesy Thy Neang et al, Zootaxa/Flora & Fauna International
Scientists have uncovered the fossils of prehistoric penguins in Peru. Evidence from the fossils suggests that these giant penguins, called water king penguins (Inkayacu paracasensis), had reddish-brown colors on the underside of their wings. But that’s not the only unusual thing about this ancient bird–it was also about 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall!
Learn more about the giant water king penguin on National Geographic News.
Get the facts on emperor penguins, the world’s largest living penguins.
Illustration courtesy Katie Browne, U.T. Austin
Did you know that there is a spider than spins a web large enough to span a river? Well, the female Darwin’s bark spider can and it spins the world’s biggest and strongest spider webs, as seen in the photo above.
This newly documented species isn’t especially large compared to its web–the spider’s body is about smaller than .8 inch long (2 centimeters), not including legs.
See more pictures on National Geographic News.
Watch a video of a jumping spider stalking lunch on National Geographic Kids.
Photograph courtesy Matjaz Kuntner
Scientists identified one of the world’s smallest frogs on Wednesday. The itty-bitty Microhyla nepenthicola is a frog that is only found in Borneo. When fully grown, the frog is the size of a pea (the frog in the picture above is a juvenile). Although the species was recently identified, people have been spotting the tiny amphibian for a long time. “I saw some specimens in museum collections that are over a hundred years old,” co-discoverer Indraneil Das said. Das thinks that scientists may have thought the frogs were younger versions of other, larger species.
Learn more about this tiny find on National Geographic News.
Photograph courtesy Indraneil Das, Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation
Scientist have found fossils of an ancient crocodile in Tanzania called Pakasuchus kapilimai. It lived about 105 million years ago, and it was smaller than most crocs–about the size of a house cat. It also had characteristics that are more like a mammal than like a reptile. Modern crocs have a mouth full of pointy teeth, but this new find had molar-like teeth in the back of its jaw. Its nose was also more like a dog’s nose than like a typical crocodile.
Learn more about the Pakasuchus kapilimai crocodile on National Geographic News.
Get the facts on Nile crocodiles in the Creature Feature.
Picture courtesy Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation
Did you know that fish can walk? This photograph shows an Australian fish called a pink handfish. No one has actually seen this tiny four-inch (ten-centimeter) fish since 1999, and no one is sure exactly when this photo was taken. These fish have been spotted a total of only four times in the shallow waters near Hobart, a city on the island of Tasmania.
Scientists recently determined that the pink handfish is a distinct species from other handfish. They haven’t been studied very often, and there is not much information on their behavior. There are 14 known species of handfish, and they all live in shallow water on the southeastern edge of Australia.
See more handfish pictures on National Geographic News.
Watch a video about fish camouflage on National Geographic Kids.
Photograph courtesy Karen Gowlett-Holmes
What appears to be a flower bud is actually a bee nest. One species of bee called, Osmia tergestensis, made it by “gluing” flower petals together with mud. Once the container is complete, the bee fills it with nectar and pollen and lays a single egg inside.
After finishing the egg chamber, the bee buries it. As the chamber dries, it becomes very hard, which protects the egg inside. The baby bee hatches after spending ten months in the flowery egg chamber.
See more pictures and learn more about the bees on National Geographic News.
Why are honey bees disappearing? Investigate the honey bee mystery on National Geographic Kids
Photographs courtesy J.G. Rozen, AMNH
What an incredible year this has been! Take a look at these 9 lists recapping your favorite amazing videos, tips, games, and more from NG Kids in 2009.
Image courtesy Travis R. Tischler, Australian Age of Dinosaurs
“Banjo” is the nickname for the newly-named dinosaur Australovenator wintonensis, a meat-eating, raptor-like dino recently found in Australia. The fossilized remains are one of three new dinosaur species discovered in Winton, a town in the Australian outback.
Learn more about the dig and meet new discoveries “Matilda” and “Clancy” on National Geographic News.
Test your knowledge of dinosaurs in this National Geographic Kids Brainteaser.
Photograph by Jessica Deichmann, courtesy Conservation International
Tadpole-toting frogs (seen above), lungless salamanders, and spiny katydids are some of the new species found on a recent conservation expedition to the mountainous Nangaritza region of Ecuador. Scientists hope that the discoveries will result in protection of their habitat by the Ecuadorian government, according to Conservation International.
See pictures of the new discoveries on National Geographic News.
See rainforest pictures on National Geographic Kids.
Photograph courtesy Martin George/QVMAG
Jellyfish expert Lisa Gershwin was swimming near the coast of Tasmania and noticed a colorful blob swimming nearby. She was able to safely photograph this specimen by placing it in a small aquarium called a “phototank.” This new jellyfish species doesn’t sting, but the 5-inch (13-centimeter) long creature is very delicate and touching it can cause it to shatter.
The rainbow glow on the jellyfish comes from light reflecting off the creature’s cilia. Cilia are small hairlike projections that the jellyfish uses to swim.
Read more about this bright spot in the ocean on National Geographic News.
Watch a video of other jellyfish species on National Geographic Kids.
Talk about a news bite! Those are real fangs you see on the fish picture above. Researchers at the London Natural History museum found them in an aquarium tank. They had been misidentified as an already known species, but instead they’re an undiscovered species. The fish has been named Danionella dracula for its fearsome-looking fangs!
Read the whole post »
Image courtesy Farish A. Jenkins, Jr./Harvard University
Scientists recently uncovered fossils of an extinct amphibian called Gerrothorax pulcherrimus whose mouth opens sort of like a toilet seat. The jaws of all other vertebrates (animals with a backbone) open wide by hinging down from their skull, while this creature lifted its head up to open its choppers. Gerrothorax lived about 210 million years ago. It lived in warm lakes and ate fish with its toilet seat mouth. It was about three feet (one meter) long and was flat with short limbs.
Farish Jenkins, of Harvard University, said that Gerrothorax was “the ugliest animal in the world.”
Read more about this freaky find on National Geographic News.
Read about dino discoveries on National Geographic Kids.
Photograph by Gabriele Gentile
Scientists have discovered a new iguana species! These iguanas are unusual because they have pink skin.
The pink iguanas only live on the Wolf volcano, located on the Galápagos island of Isabela, off the coast of Ecuador. The future of this species is also in question. Their population is quite small. Scientists think that cats introduced to the island may be eating the baby iguanas.
Learn more about this discovery on National Geographic News.
See photos of other Ecuadorian animals in the Photo Gallery.
Photograph by Enric Sala
In the last few days of his presidency, President George W. Bush created three new national monuments in the Pacific Ocean in the largest ocean conservation effort ever. The new monuments will protect Kingman Reef (as part of the U.S. Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument), Rose Atoll, and the Mariana Trench, which is home to Earth’s deepest spot.
All three of the protected areas are home to many species, including the giant coral colony shown in the photo above.
Read the whole post »
Some creepy-looking and yet amazing new species have been found in the Greater Mekong River area in Southeast Asia! Among the most eerie creatures among the 1,068 finds are a pink millipede that can shoot cyanide, and what is probably the world’s largest spider–it boasts a legspan of up to 12 inches (30 centimeters). Check out pictures of these spectacular creatures on National Geographic News.
Want more wild Mekong river creatures? Visit the Megafishes gallery.