The first ever sighting of an all white adult Killer Whale was made recently off the coast of Kamchatka in the east of Russia.
Entries in species (4)
Scientists have successfully managed to capture amazing images of one of the most endangered primate species in the world, following research in the dense rainforest, Wehea, in Borneo. Footage from camera traps taken in order to determine the jungle’s diversity showed exciting yet unexpected images of a sub-species. With detailed inspection, the scientists were amazed to find that the species was the Miller’s Grizzled Langur- previously believed to have been extinct.
A new species of primate, teetering on the brink has been discovered in the threatened Amazon rainforest. The discovery of the new species of titi monkey was made in the Mato Grosso region of Brazil, an area heavily threatened by illegal logging.
The discovery is part of the WWF-Brazil expedition which also found the area to be of particularly high biodiversity despite pressures from logging and agriculture. The study also documented the presence of not only the new species of monkey but hundreds of fish and birds and a number of giant anteaters, armadillos, otters, jaguars and ocelots.
The new monkey has an intriguing appearance with a fiery red tail and matching facial hair. Believed to be a new species of titi monkey, they are only recently known to science. Since 1963, 25 of the 28 known species of titi monkey have been discovered with approximately one new species of primate found per year making this discovery a particularly rare one.
Coordinator of the expedition, Gustav Irgang said he was delighted with the discovery ‘We fulfilled our schedule, there were no serious setbacks and we got to our laboratories and study centres with the possible discovery of a new species. We only have reasons to celebrate.’
The discovery comes at a critical time for the Amazon rainforest as it faces mounting pressures from encroaching settlements, social tensions over rights to the land and illegal logging and fishing.
In a separate study which came out just last week found that the Earth is home to 8.7 million different species of which 90% are as yet undiscovered. Scientists state that this figure relates largely to insects yet the discovery of the new monkey illustrates our limited knowledge of larger land animals. This same study also found that current extinction rates have significantly increased over the years and reflect those of the great mass extinctions in the past.
However, the discovery brings hope to the Amazon rainforest with WWF-Brazil using the new monkey as a way to increase conservation awareness in the region and improve the management of Mato Grosso’s protected areas.
By Holly Alsop
In the past week, scientists have published findings of a study which concluded that there are approximately 8.7 million species on the planet. The paper which was published in the journal Public Library of Science Biology comes at a time where the number was previously thought to be anything between three and one hundred million.
To come up with the most accurate species estimate to date, the team adopted a new approach by studying the relationships between individual species and the wider assemblages to which they belong.
The research found that there are 6.5 million species living on the land and 2.2 million in the world’s oceans and rivers. However exciting, this figure represents only a promising start in our bid to understand our place on the planet, with around 86% of all terrestrial species and 91% of marine species yet to be discovered, described and catalogued.
Study leader, Dr Camilo Mora of the University of Hawaii said "The question of how many species exist has intrigued scientists for centuries and understanding the variety of life around us was important because human activities were accelerating the rate of extinctions."
‘‘Many species may vanish before we even know of their existence, and of their potential contribution to improved human well-being,’’ he said in a commentary in the journal.
The impact of humans on the environment has also been assessed in a separate study. Scientists used mathematical models in nature to calculate the effect of human existence on our surrounding habitat. By scaling Earth's age to 46 years, the study estimated that human existence is equivalent to approximately four hours. When analysed in the model, the impact of human activities on species was shown to be at a rate 1000 times faster than is considered normal in evolutionary terms.
The dependence of humans on natural resources for food, water, health and livelihoods has increased significantly in recent years and it is unclear just how many species have suffered as a direct result. Consequently, it is not known what impacts this may have on habitats that humans rely so heavily upon for resources.
Albert Einstein once said "If bees disappeared, man would only have a few years to live. No more pollinisation, no more grass, no more animals, no more men".
The new estimate has naturally come under criticism, with error bars of plus or minus 1.3 million. However, the figure is by no means definitive and the calculations simply mark the beginning of an assessment of all life on Earth.