Which Top New Species of 2018 Are You?
Did you know that about 18,000 new species are named every year? While that statistic might make it sound like a lot of new animals and plants are being discovered—and hopefully protected—all the time, about 20,000 species are also going extinct every year, International Institute for Species Exploration founding director Quentin Wheeler said in a news release.
Scientists monitor this ever-changing lineup of critters and plants because getting a more detailed picture of our ecosystems can help us better protect our planet.
"So many of these species—if we don't find them, name them and describe them now—will be lost forever," Wheeler said.
"And yet they can teach us so much about the intricacies of ecosystems and the details of evolutionary history. Each of them has found a way to survive against the odds of changing competition, climate and environmental conditions. So each can teach us something really worth knowing as we face an uncertain environmental future ourselves."
A top 10 list of a different variety
Every year since 2008, the IISE has released a list of the top 10 new species for that year. A team of taxonomists from Spain, Argentina, Canada, the United Kingdom, Israel, the Netherlands, the United States and New Zealand selected this year’s list of organisms, which were announced earlier this month. This year's list included the baffling beetle and the marsupial lion.
The annual list is created in honor of the March 23 birthday of Carolus Linnaeus, an 18th-century Swedish naturalist who is known as the “Father of Taxonomy” for the plant and animal naming system he created. His naming system is still used today.
From tiny organisms to massive, towering trees, this year’s list is full of interesting species. Take this quiz to find out which one you are. (Bonus points if you dress up like your species for Halloween this year.)
(Can't see the quiz? Click here.)
Want to learn more about endangered species? Watch new "Nature" documentary "The World’s Most Wanted Animal" on PBS.org.