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Man's Obsession: Prove Duck With Pink Feathers Does Exist

Richard Thorns wants to be first to see one since 1949

(Newser) - Hope is the thing with feathers, poet Emily Dickinson wrote. For Richard Thorns, the feathers are pink. Thorns' hope? To prove that a colorful duck is not extinct. This week, he launches a seventh expedition into the inaccessible wilds of Myanmar to search for the pink-headed duck that hasn't... More »

Fatal Disease on Rise in Humans, Deer in Wisconsin

Chronic wasting disease seen more amid worries deer may pass it to humans

(Newser) - Variants of a fatal brain disease are on the rise in both deer and humans across the country and especially in Wisconsin, leaving some worrying that the deer version, called chronic wasting disease, may be spreading to people. And while a cross-species jump to humans has yet to be observed,... More »

Study: 'Golden Wolf' Has Been Hiding in Plain Sight

We just thought it was the African golden jackal

(Newser) - Africa, home to the Ethiopian wolf and the gray wolf, can now lay claim to the African golden wolf—the first new species of canid (which also encompasses jackals, foxes, and coyotes) to be discovered in 150 years, reports National Geographic . The new species has long been misunderstood to be... More »

Mass Extinction Underway, Will Kill Off Humans: Report

Current extinction rate is shocking, scientists say

(Newser) - Feeling upbeat? Enough of that: Planet Earth is undergoing a sixth mass extinction that will likely annihilate the human race unless we can curb the trend, scientists say. According to a new paper , the current rate of species extinction outpaces the natural rate far more than anyone knew, NBC News... More »

Does Another Species Already Rule the Earth?

Rats and ants are contenders; others may rise up

(Newser) - Humans have been ruling Earth for a while now, but are we just a flash in the pan? Scientists are analyzing other species and asking whether any will eventually take over should we perish by plague, climate change, war, famine, you name it. Or perhaps one already dominates without our... More »

Scientists Looking to Reverse Extinction

New techniques could bring back long-lost creatures

(Newser) - Human activity and other factors have annihilated countless species over the last few hundred thousand years, but researchers now believe some of those creatures aren't necessarily gone forever, the New York Times finds. Cloning requires an intact cell, but advances in technology mean that it could be possible to... More »

New Fossils Reveal More Human Species

Early human evolution was more crowded than we thought: Leakeys

(Newser) - The discovery of three new fossils, unveiled today, illuminate and confirm a line of human evolution that is more complicated than scientists once thought. The groundbreaking bones, about 2 million years old and unearthed in Kenya, prove that there were at least two Homo species—in addition to Homo erectus—... More »

Top 10 Newly Discovered Species

Including a mushroom named for SpongeBob

(Newser) - Roughly 18,000 new species were discovered last year, and scientists at Arizona State University have compiled a list of their 10 favorites. A sample, from the Arizona Republic : More »

Scientists Find New Species of Amphibians

Limbless creatures look like earthworms

(Newser) - Scientists have unearthed a brand-new, weird-looking species of amphibians in northeastern India. The creatures, named chikilidae, live deep in the dirt and are limbless, reports Nature , which notes that they look more like worms than, say, frogs or salamanders. “The discovery adds a major branch to the amphibian tree... More »

Thai Elephants' New Threat: Poachers After Their Meat

Some Asian cultures believe flesh will boost one's sexual prowess

(Newser) - A new gastronomic fad in Thailand is pushing the country's elephants a step closer to extinction. Poachers, who have historically hunted elephants to obtain their ivory tusks, are now killing the giant mammals and selling their trunks and sexual organs to be eaten as food, reports the AP . Consumption... More »

Earth Holds 8.7M Species, Study Finds

And most of them are still undiscovered

(Newser) - Humanity shares the planet with roughly 8.7 million species, most of them still undiscovered, according to a new study. Researchers used complex mathematical models to tackle a question that has long puzzled scientists, identifying numerical patterns in data from 1.2 million known species, excluding viruses and microorganisms, reports... More »

New Life Form Discovered at Truck Stop

Biologist makes big find en route to collecting trip

(Newser) - The world is teeming with undiscovered species, as biologist Piotr Naskrecki discovered at a ... South African truck stop. Naskrecki was part of a team hunting for specimens of Mantophasmotes—an entirely new order of carnivorous insects only discovered in 2002—in a remote area of Namibia. When he paused at... More »

Scientists Slash Number of World's Plants by 600,000

Turns out that many plants have multiple names—some have hundreds

(Newser) - A comprehensive scientific study will trim some 600,000 duplicates from the world’s list of flowering plants, the Guardian reports. After centuries of scientists naming “new” plants that had already been discovered, we currently count the number of plant species at about 1 million—but a more realistic... More »

Rich May Evolve Into Own Species

Wealthy winning huge edge with longer life, access to biotechnology

(Newser) - The super wealthy will have such access to high levels of health care, biotechnology and robotics that they could develop into their own species of being, argues a Silicon Valley  futurist. The rich will be able to grow their own organs and manipulate genetics for superior abilities and freedom from... More »

Giant Rat Found in 'Lost Volcano'

Fanged toads, mini 'Ewoks' among species discovered in New Guinea jungle

(Newser) - A new species of giant rat with no fear of humans has been discovered in a volcanic crater deep in the jungles of Papua New Guinea. It's the same kind of rat "you find in city sewers"—except it's 32 inches long, said a scientist traveling with a... More »

Rat-Eating Plant Named for Brit Naturalist Attenborough

(Newser) - A rare, giant Philippine pitcher plant that likely dines on rats and mice has been named after British naturalist Sir David Attenborough, the Times of London reports. The Nepenthes attenboroughii, which could number only a few hundred specimens, was discovered in 2007. Attenborough says he’s delighted to lend his... More »

Baby Mammoth Gives Up Secrets

(Newser) - A nearly perfectly preserved 37,000-year-old baby mammoth is giving up tantalizing secrets about her species, scientists report. The creature, dubbed Lyuba by researchers, still sports clumps of hair and eyelashes, according to the Telegraph. Scientists have been able to examine stomach contents and the mineral makeup of the bones... More »

Scientists Discover Forest by Searching Google Earth

Scientists find hundreds of new species in uncharted African forest

(Newser) - British scientists have stumbled upon an unexplored forest in northern Mozambique—without taking a step. A conservationist for the Royal Botanic Gardens was scanning for a new project site on Google Earth when he came across the untouched area known as Mount Mabu, and an expedition later discovered hundreds of... More »

Name This Species—for a Fee

Purdue auctions rights on newly discovered bats, turtles to raise research cash

(Newser) - Purdue University has some recently discovered bats and turtles to name, and you can be the one to do it—if you’re willing to pony up some cash, the Chicago Tribune reports. The university is auctioning off naming rights to a number of species, planning to use the money... More »

Bush Pardons Eagle Killer

Bush lets off man who indirectly poisoned birds

(Newser) - Twelve years after pleading guilty to federal charges in the deaths of three bald eagles, Leslie Owen Collier learned last week that his name was cleared: He was pardoned by President Bush. "I guess I was humbled is the best way to say it—I never thought it would... More »

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