Are There Any New Species Of Mammals Left To Discover?

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Have all currently existing species of mammals been named/identified? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Jelle Zijlstra, Staff Engineer, on Quora:

Have all currently existing species of mammals been named/identified?

No. New species are still constantly being discovered, and at least twelve new species of living mammals have been named in 2018 so far.

Some of those are the result of more detailed investigation of already known species. New investigations or new lines of evidence (such as DNA data) can show that what was thought to be one species is actually multiple. Others, though, are completely new: we had no idea that an animal like this existed.

The most recently named new mammal species that I know of is Palawanosorex muscorum, which was published in early May. It is a shrew that only occurs on a single mountain on the island of Palawan in the Philippines, and before it was discovered during a 2007 biological survey, we didn’t know of any shrew similar to it on Palawan or anywhere else. Other 2018 new species come from Peru, Brazil, Australia, Indonesia, Panama, Ecuador, and Guyana.

Other species are known to be distinct, but haven’t been named yet. For example, there are two species of Philippine forest mice on the island of Sibuyan, but neither has been named. There is a bat species in eastern Australia that is even listed in field guides, but nobody has yet formally named it.

I can’t give you examples of species that exist but haven’t been identified at all, but it’s obvious that they must exist, waiting on some remote mountain in the tropics.

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