Australian Museum’s big leap
Australian Museum Research Institute director Rebecca Johnson has headed up a team of scientists who have discovered more than 140 new species of animals in the past 12 months. Source: Courier Mail. Photo: Adam Taylor.
Neil Keene, The Australian Museum: A big leap in discovering new animal species, The Courier Mail, 8 February 2016
It seems the best scientists really are Down Under, with researchers at the Australian Museum digging their way to the top of their field by discovering 70 new worm species in the past 12 months.
In total, the Sydney-based museum’s team found an incredible 145 species of never-before-identified frogs, fish, insects, worms and sea creatures last year alone.
“We really smashed our record on worms this year,” Australian Museum Research Institute director Dr Rebecca Johnson said of the world-leading research.
“Our new discoveries are largely related to the expertise of our scientists.
“For the worms, two of our scientists organised a scientific expedition to our field station at Lizard Island (on the Great Barrier Reef) and in a two-week period they spent a lot of time focusing on understanding the local worm diversity.
“We also described 42 crustaceans, again reflecting that we have a couple of really amazing crustacean researchers.”
Dr Johnson said the discoveries increased human understanding of the animal world, evolution and the delicate ecosystems in which they lived.
See also: Ed Yong, Natural History Museums Are Teeming with Undiscovered Species, The Atlantic, 8 February 2016