Despite posited 'threats of extinctions caused by global warming', 221 new species described by the California Academy of Sciences in 2014

One recent article claimed that: Humans are turning the Earth into a ‘lonely and very dangerous planet‘, ecologist warns – but the bottom line is that the more we look, the more we find no evidence of this being related to gloabl warming. This goes hand in hand with what we reported back in March: IPCC admission from new report: ‘no evidence climate change has led to even a single species becoming extinct’ along with the snail that was supposed to be the first extinct animal due to global warming that suddenly wasn’t: Ooops! First animal claimed extinct due to ‘climate change’ found ‘alive and well’

From mammals to deep-sea shark fossils, spanning five continents and two oceans, these discoveries add to the family tree of life on Earth

Meet Phyllodesmium undulatum -- a brightly colored, poison-loving sea slug.
Meet Phyllodesmium undulatum — a brightly colored, poison-loving sea slug.

In 2014, researchers at the California Academy of Sciences added a whopping 221 new plant and animal species to our family tree, enriching our understanding of Earth’s complex web of life and strengthening our ability to make informed conservation decisions. The new species include 110 ants, 16 beetles, three spiders, 28 fishes, 24 sea slugs, two marine worms, 9 barnacles, two octocorals, 25 plants, one waterbear, and one tiny mammal. More than a dozen Academy scientists–along with several dozen international collaborators–described the discoveries.

Proving that there are still plenty of places to explore and things to discover on Earth, the scientists made their finds over five continents and two oceans, ventured into remote caves and descended to the bottom of the sea, looked in their owns backyards (California) and on the other side of the world (Africa). Their results, published in 64 different scientific papers, help advance the Academy’s research into two of the most important scientific questions of our time: “How did life evolve?” and “How will it persist?”

“Biodiversity scientists estimate that we have discovered less than 10% of species on the planet,” says Dr. Meg Lowman, the Academy’s Chief of Science and Sustainability. “Academy scientists tirelessly explore the unexplored regions of Earth–not only to discover new species, but also to uncover the importance of these species to the health of our natural systems. Our findings help to sustain the future of life for our children and grandchildren. Even in our own backyards,” she adds, “new discoveries abound!”

New species of mammal found in Namibia

Scientists from the California Academy of Sciences discovered a new species of round-eared sengi, or elephant-shrew, in the remote deserts of southwestern Africa. It is the smallest known member of the 19 sengis in the order Macroscelidea. The team’s discovery and description of the Etendeka round-eared sengi–Macroscelides micus–was published in the June issue of the Journal of Mammalogy.

While collecting and examining sengi specimens from southwestern Africa, Drs. Jack Dumbacher and Galen Rathbun found an unusual specimen they hadn’t previously encountered. When preliminary genetic analysis showed important differences between this specimen and close relatives, the Academy scientists joined forces with an international team of experts to collect new wild specimens and compare their findings to existing museum collections worldwide. The collaborative research efforts–spanning several years and nine African expeditions–culminated in the confirmation of Macroscelides micus as a unique species.

Sengis are restricted to Africa and, despite their small size, are more closely related to elephants, sea cows, and aardvarks than they are to true shrews. Found in a remote area of Namibia, on the inland edge of the Namib Desert, scientists believe this new rust-colored species went undescribed for so long because of the challenges of doing scientific research in such an isolated area.

“With only about a dozen new species of mammal discovered in the wild each year, it is amazing that the Academy has been involved in describing three new sengis in the last decade,” says Rathbun, one of the world’s foremost experts on sengis and an Academy Fellow and Research Associate. “There are new and exciting insights into biodiversity awaiting discovery, even in a group as familiar as mammals.”

An Etendeka round-eared sengi specimen is on display in the Namib Desert diorama exhibit in the Academy’s African Hall, part of its natural history museum. For more information about sengis and their biology, visit

The Hero Ant of Madagascar

The island nation of Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot teeming with wildlife found nowhere else on Earth. Academy entomologist and renowned ant expert Dr. Brian Fisher has worked in the critically threatened region for more than 20 years, training local leaders to protect their country’s priceless natural resources before they are lost forever.

2014 was a banner year for scientific exploration in Madagascar and mainland Africa. Fisher and his research team found and described 110 new species of ants and 4 new genera, with several additional findings slated for publishing in the coming year.

One species stands out against the stunning backdrop of entomological treasures: Malagidris sofina, or, “the Hero Ant.” Armed with a host of special nest-building techniques and defense behaviors, the Hero Ant has adapted to its home (and threat of invaders) in fascinating ways. M. sofina lives in an environment with non-porous clay, and is thought to build a striking, funnel-like nest to promote oxygen exchange and protect its colony from suffocation.

While a heroic feat of insect engineering, this knack for nest architecture did not inspire the Hero moniker. Fisher and his colleagues painstakingly observed the species’ bold defense against invaders–a behavior they call “cliff-jumping” in the journal Insectes Sociaux. As soon as a foreign ant approaches the funnel’s entrance, a lone Hero Ant breaks from the colony and tackles the intruder, springing them both dramatically over the lip of the nest.

“Some arboreal ants have been observed taking to the air to avoid a predator, but no type of ant is known to sacrifice itself alongside an invader,” says Fisher. “This remarkable species is one of thousands threatened by slash-and-burn agriculture in Madagascar. The more we know about this critically diverse region, the more we can do to help protect it.”

Beneath the Sea

Academy scientists described a jaw-dropping 65 new species of ocean-dwellers–including a new type of 23-million year old megamouth shark (in the form of fossilized teeth)–in 2014 alone. Along with the new fossil shark, researches uncovered 20 new species of gobies, one cardinalfish, one toadfish, two grenadiers, one yellow damselfish, one pipefish, 24 colorful nudibranchs, a gigantic deepwater worm eel, two octocoral, nine new barnacles, two marine worms, and a ghost shark from New Zealand.

The gigantic deepwater worm eel–Pylorobranchus hearstorum, the largest of its kind–caught its namesakes by surprise. Aquatic biologist Dr. John McCosker, Emeritus Curator, discovered a single female specimen in a treasure trove of Philippine marine biodiversity called the Verde Island Passage. William and Margaret Hearst sponsored the massive 2011 Academy expedition to the region, said to be the “center of the center” of fish diversity, and were surprised to hear that a new species had been named for them.

“Some might be less than thrilled to have a gigantic worm eel named in their honor, but the Hearsts were delighted,” says McCosker, acknowledging the Hearsts’ commitment to ocean exploration in an era of great environmental change. “People don’t think of eels as fish, but indeed they are! This discovery reminds us that there are many deep water creatures yet to be discovered, in the Philippines and beyond.”

The new eel is called gigantic for good reason; at nearly 50 inches from head to tail, it is almost twice as long and three times heavier than any known worm eel. Pylorobranchus hearstorum is related to snake eels–aptly named for their snake-like appearance–and probably lurks at depths close to 1,000 feet beneath the ocean’s surface. McCosker’s find is the only specimen of its kind, highlighting our need to learn more about unique deepwater habitats and the life that thrives so far from the sun.

A “new” ancient shark unearthed close to home

The discovery of a new fossil relative of the megamouth shark came from a very different–and decidedly un-aquatic–habitat than that of the gigantic worm eel. Academy Research Associate Dr. Douglas Long calls the description of Megachasma applegatei, published in the March issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, a discovery “decades in the making.”

Throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s, paleontologists digging in California’s Central Valley uncovered small, prehistoric shark teeth that looked markedly different from others on record. Moving from 23-million year old marine sediment sites to local museum collections, the fossilized teeth sat relatively unnoticed until a U.S. Navy boat hauled up an extraordinarily rare megamouth shark–Megachasma pelagios–off the coast of Hawaii in 1976. Once a formal description was published in 1983, scientists speculated that the fossilized teeth belonged to an ancient relative of the filter-feeding megamouth shark.

Without a formal study on record, the shark mystery remained unsolved for five decades. Scientists noticed privately owned fossils of the supposed ancestor’s teeth popping up on online auction sites, and decided it was time to take action.

Long and a team of passionate researchers analyzed 67 teeth–carefully preserved in museum collections–from sites in California and coastal Oregon, and placed M. applegatei in its proper place on the shark tree of life. Study findings revealed that the megamouth’s lineage extends far earlier in history than previously imagined, converging with another group of ancient sharks called Odontaspids that persist in today’s oceans in the form of sand tiger and gray nurse sharks. With stronger lineage information and teeth from ancient and existing sharks for comparison, scientists suggest that megamouth sharks evolved from sharp-toothed fish-eaters before evolving into the small-toothed filter-feeders they are today.

From islands to the mainland: three new spiders

The tropical forests and reef-filled waters of Southeast Asia are renowned for their unique plants and animals–and now, three newly discovered ray spiders. Arachnologist Dr. Charles Griswold, Emeritus Curator, wasn’t terribly surprised to find tiny orb-weavers from the family Theridiosomatidae in the dark, wet forests of Malaysia and the Philippines, but notes that few researchers have formally documented the region’s wild spiders. Well-known spiders abound in local rice paddies, but the new ray species–about the size of a single, chunky grain of sand–are wild mountain-dwellers.

To solve the problem of spotting such small spiders in the wild, researchers use “puffers” filled with fine cornstarch to seek out characteristic webs near waterfalls and damp rock structures. Named for their ray-like (and incredibly diverse) webs, these spiders have a neat trick for catching prey.

“Ray spiders aren’t filter feeders,” says Griswold. “They tend to stretch their sticky webs into a cone-like shape, and hold on tightly while they wait for unsuspecting prey. Once spotted, they shake or let their webs fly out to catch a meal.”

Griswold and his research team found the new genus Tagalogonia (with two novel species) on dormant Philippine volcanoes. Another new species–from a genus previously described in China–was discovered in the forested hills of Malaysia. The latter is the first new ray spider described from Malaysia in more than a century, shedding more light on the region’s stunning biodiversity.


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December 29, 2014 1:24 am

Natural Global Warming is unlikely to send any species extinct. The global warming hoax however will likely claim many –
– The Lesser Spittle Flecked Doom-Shrieker
– The Red Beaked Green Lyre Bird
– The UN kleptocracy
– Every activist, journalist and politician of the left.
– Any public figure so inane as to believe adding radiative gases to the atmosphere would reduce the atmosphere’s radiative cooling ability.
Species extinction ain’t all bad 😉

Reply to  Konrad
December 29, 2014 5:43 am

Doubtful. These invasive species are notoriously difficult to exterminate. They exhibit remarkable abilities to adapt to local environments, reproduce quickly, mutate into novel forms when pressured, and display an array of defensive behaviors. Like rats and cockroaches, they will always plague us.

george e. smith
Reply to  Konrad
December 29, 2014 3:56 pm

Well supposably, the American Eastern Elk, is extinct.
Lemme tell you; if even one American Eastern Elk still exists, if you can make it across the Rockies to California, there are a whole host of perfectly good Elks out here and you can get it on with; any one of them that suits your fancy.
Matter of fact, if you take a ship or Air New Zealand down to the Shaky Isles, you will find plenty of Wapiti of all known Genders, that will work too.
So nyet on the Eastern Elk being extinct. They just migrated to a Les Miserables place !

george e. smith
Reply to  george e. smith
December 29, 2014 4:02 pm

My wife sent Christmas presents to all 473 of her family cousins grandchildren and great grand children, most of whom have absolutely no genetic material in common with us. Some are even Sudanese Arab Moslems; and I suspect that some are possibly a different species from me.
I really don’t care just who or what anybody is; that’s their business, but I do cut off my Christmas card list somewhat shorter than just the same genus.

Reply to  george e. smith
December 30, 2014 4:56 am

The American Eastern Elk was a subspecies – the species (Cervus canadiensis) continues to thrive. There is a herd of same right here in Richmond Virginia – grazing at the site of a Civil War Battlefield (Drewry’s Bluff).
You have to draw t he line *somewhere*. If you go below the species level you are going to have to separately preserve and protect subspecies, tribes, and family groups (packs).
To paraphrase Ricky Nelson – you can’t save everyone, so you’ve got to save yourself.
The main difference between the Rocky Mountain Elk and the American Eastern Elk? – probably their accents.

george e. smith
Reply to  george e. smith
December 31, 2014 12:45 am

Well one of my favorite animals is almost extinction proof.
If you killed every single living one on earth, including every single one currently in gestation, so that there are zero of them at any stage of existence on this planet; well in about 25 years you would have just about as many as we have today.
That’s why I like them

Chris Schoneveld
December 29, 2014 1:26 am

An alarmist would argue that without climate change we would have found 300 new species instead of 221.

Reply to  Chris Schoneveld
December 29, 2014 3:13 am

Chris Schoneveld
December 29, 2014 at 1:26 am
An alarmist would argue that without climate change we would have found 300 new species instead of 221.

I would argue “We discovered 18,000 new species last year!

Reply to  Chris Schoneveld
December 29, 2014 3:03 pm

When the dingo, an animal which interbreeds easily with domestic dogs, is reclassified as a new species because it looks a bit different – then I would be rather suspicious of the claim 221 new species have been discovered. Has anyone tested them? The test is that they can’t interbreed with any other species.

Reply to  Mark
December 30, 2014 3:37 am

Welcome to the wonderful world of taxa. Interbreeding is not an issue any more, and it would be harmful in protecting couple of instances of x at region y, powerfully driven by enthusiasts.

December 29, 2014 1:43 am

When will the clowns who perpetuate the AGW myth finally realise that without exception, every prediction that has been made about AGW has not just failed, they have all spectacularly failed!
There have been no mass extinctions, no climate refugees from Mediterranean countries, I cannot grow vines at 55 N latitude, coral reefs are thriving, the polar caps are intact the average global temperature is unchanged for the last 18+ years etc etc.
When is this scam finally going to end?

December 29, 2014 1:45 am

Anthony – all fascinating stuff, but pretty much zilch to do with global warming.
New species are being found all the time, and amongst some groups of invertebrates and fungi, for example, it is possible that less than half of existing species have yet been described. And the example of a ‘new’ species which is already a fossil, doesn’t really say much!
Of course, I’m right with you that almost all the ‘extinction’ scares we hear about are unjustified, and many of them embarassing nonsense put out by scientists or groups who are just after raising their own profile: but your post is a non sequitur. Sorry.

aussie pete
Reply to  mothcatcher
December 29, 2014 2:04 am

but your post is a non sequitur. Sorry.
I don’t know what you mean by that. Can you explain please?

Reply to  aussie pete
December 29, 2014 2:54 pm

Its 14th century strine for irrelevant. You must be a recent immigrant

Reply to  mothcatcher
December 29, 2014 6:05 am

December 29, 2014 at 1:45 am
Anthony – all fascinating stuff, but pretty much zilch to do with global warming.

Are you saying that the “221 new species described by the California Academy of Sciences in 2014” has “pretty much zilch to do with global warming”? If yes then please show me where Anthony said that the new 221 species found was caused by global warming?

george e. smith
Reply to  mothcatcher
December 29, 2014 4:09 pm

Up there at the top it used to say something about stuff of interest. Some of us have no interest whatsoever in either global warming or climate change, because we don’t have the knob that fiddles with those things, and they will happen whenever they want to, with or without us.
So the solution to non sequitorial stuff is “Don’t read it” !!

December 29, 2014 1:49 am

Failure in logic : the rate of discovery is not related to the rate of extinction.

Reply to  jimmi_the_dalek
December 29, 2014 6:08 am

December 29, 2014 at 1:49 am
Failure in logic : the rate of discovery is not related to the rate of extinction.

I must have missed where this was asserted. Can you help me find this assertion?

aussie pete
Reply to  Jimbo
December 29, 2014 5:15 pm

Hey Jimbo, it might be disguised as a non sequitur, 14th Century strine can be tricky stuff ya know..

Reply to  jimmi_the_dalek
December 29, 2014 6:11 am

Perhaps you meant to point to the logarithmic increase in the idiocy of climate related claims. The latest being, not only do humans control global climate we have also managed to control evolution.

December 29, 2014 3:01 am

While it is true that the rate of discovery may not be related to the rate of extinction, it does remind us that so far all we have had are scare stories of “extinctions that might happen”.
We have all these life-forms, like polar bears for example, that have lived through much warmer periods during this interglacial (The Holocene) but somehow this time</b they will be unable to adapt to a couple of degrees C warming. And that is in addition to the fact that no one has proven that the planet is warming due to CO2 in the first place.
The problem is the other side gets to yell “it could happen” all the time and the media just laps that up. Well pink unicorns may eat your lunch today — it could happen.

Reply to  markstoval
December 29, 2014 3:02 am

Mods. Would you pretty please close that bold tag for me? I promise not to use tags for a week.

Reply to  markstoval
December 29, 2014 3:31 am

Hurray to rapid evolution?

Natural selection on thermal performance in a novel thermal environment
…When we transplanted lizards from their preferred habitat to a warmer and more thermally variable site, strong natural selection favored individuals that ran faster at warmer temperatures and across a broader range of temperatures…..

Now that is rapid, transplanted! Not a 0.8C over 100 years but transplanted!

Reply to  Jimbo
December 29, 2014 10:53 am

Rapid evolution?
Pink unicorns by tomorrow lunchtime – hurrah!
That said, any increase in our knowledge of present and past creatures is welcome, especially when – as seems to be the case here – it is done by proper science.
As noted by many, the link to catastrophic global climate stasis [is that the latest meme?] is somewhat tenuous.
/Understatement, mods!

george e. smith
Reply to  Jimbo
December 29, 2014 4:14 pm

My kids are different from me. Not yet new species, but well on the way; specially the youngest.
Who says evolution isn’t real ??

george e. smith
Reply to  markstoval
December 29, 2014 4:24 pm

Well one of the primary causes of extinctions are all of the animal specimens that are killed and put into a drawer by biologists who have so have one of everything, and then decide they need oodles of everything to study variability.
Like New Zealand’s Huia song bird, that got extincticated early in the 20th Century partly because scientists wanted to collect specimens.
I once set out to encapsulate a sample of all 92 elements, in sealed glass tube ampoules; just for the hell of it; something to do, and have.
Worked well sealing a copper wire, and an aluminum wire in the glass tube, with a blow torch aka Bunsen Burner.
Had a bit of a problem when it came to the Mercury sample. Damn stuff kept boiling before I got the ampoule sealed. So I gave up; sill damn idea anyhow. Hydrogen in a tube looks just the same as Krypton in a tube.

December 29, 2014 3:04 am

Thank you AW for the encouraging news in the midst of these severely troubled times where homo sapiens itself seems deeply divided.

December 29, 2014 3:07 am

Earth’s history shows that extinctions are the norm and not the exception long before man walked upright.

Concept Extinction: past and present
Extinction is a fundamental part of nature — more than 99% of all species that ever lived are now extinct. Whereas the loss of ‘redundant’ species may be barely perceptible, more extensive losses of whole populations, groups of related species (clades)…

The Guardian has a category of news articles on new species called ‘New to nature’, which has been going for year.

New to nature

Then there are lazarus taxa. Organisms once thought to be extinct but which are found later. The Coelacanth being one of the most famous examples.

Lazarus taxa and fossil abundance at times of biotic crisis
Mass extinctions are often followed by intervals in which taxa disappear from the fossil record only to reappear again later. This ‘Lazarus effect’ is often attributed to a poor-quality fossil record or migration to refuges.

Does anyone know of 5 species which are extinct by man-made global warming since 1984. Remember, extinctions are the norm.

Reply to  Jimbo
December 29, 2014 3:08 am

“….which has been going for years.

December 29, 2014 3:37 am

OK, here we go. Will rapid global warming lead to mass extinction? I don’t know, nobody knows What does the past tell us about very rapid global warming (<60 years), higher temperatures than at present, high co2 levels and species extinction. One thing is clear – evolution.

Carlos Jaramillo et. al – Science – 12 November 2010
Effects of Rapid Global Warming at the Paleocene-Eocene Boundary on Neotropical Vegetation
Temperatures in tropical regions are estimated to have increased by 3° to 5°C, compared with Late Paleocene values, during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM, 56.3 million years ago) event. We investigated the tropical forest response to this rapid warming by evaluating the palynological record of three stratigraphic sections in eastern Colombia and western Venezuela. We observed a rapid and distinct increase in plant diversity and origination rates, with a set of new taxa, mostly angiosperms, added to the existing stock of low-diversity Paleocene flora. There is no evidence for enhanced aridity in the northern Neotropics. The tropical rainforest was able to persist under elevated temperatures and high levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, in contrast to speculations that tropical ecosystems were severely compromised by heat stress.
doi: 10.1126/science.1193833
PNAS – David R. Vieites – 2007
Rapid diversification and dispersal during periods of global warming by plethodontid salamanders
…Salamanders underwent rapid episodes of diversification and dispersal that coincided with major global warming events during the late Cretaceous and again during the Paleocene–Eocene thermal optimum. The major clades of plethodontids were established during these episodes, contemporaneously with similar phenomena in angiosperms, arthropods, birds, and mammals. Periods of global warming may have promoted diversification and both inter- and transcontinental dispersal in northern hemisphere salamanders…
ZHAO Yu-long et al – Advances in Earth Science – 2007
The impacts of the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM)event on earth surface cycles and its trigger mechanism
The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) event is an abrupt climate change event that occurred at the Paleocene-Eocene boundary. The event led to a sudden reversal in ocean overturning along with an abrupt rise in sea surface salinity (SSSs) and atmospheric humidity. An unusual proliferation of biodiversity and productivity during the PETM is indicative of massive fertility increasing in both oceanic and terrestrial ecosystems. Global warming enabled the dispersal of low-latitude populations into mid-and high-latitude. Biological evolution also exhibited a dramatic pulse of change, including the first appearance of many important groups of ” modern” mammals (such as primates, artiodactyls, and perissodactyls) and the mass extinction of benlhic foraminifera…..
22(4) 341-349 DOI: ISSN: 1001-8166 CN: 62-1091/P
Systematics and Biodiversity – Volume 8, Issue 1, 2010
Kathy J. Willis et al
4 °C and beyond: what did this mean for biodiversity in the past?
How do the predicted climatic changes (IPCC, 2007) for the next century compare in magnitude and rate to those that Earth has previously encountered? Are there comparable intervals of rapid rates of temperature change, sea-level rise and levels of atmospheric CO2 that can be used as analogues to assess possible biotic responses to future change? Or are we stepping into the great unknown? This perspective article focuses on intervals in time in the fossil record when atmospheric CO2 concentrations increased up to 1200 ppmv, temperatures in mid- to high-latitudes increased by greater than 4 °C within 60 years, and sea levels rose by up to 3 m higher than present. For these intervals in time, case studies of past biotic responses are presented to demonstrate the scale and impact of the magnitude and rate of such climate changes on biodiversity. We argue that although the underlying mechanisms responsible for these past changes in climate were very different (i.e. natural processes rather than anthropogenic), the rates and magnitude of climate change are similar to those predicted for the future and therefore potentially relevant to understanding future biotic response. What emerges from these past records is evidence for rapid community turnover, migrations, development of novel ecosystems and thresholds from one stable ecosystem state to another, but there is very little evidence for broad-scale extinctions due to a warming world. Based on this evidence from the fossil record, we make four recommendations for future climate-change integrated conservation strategies.
DOI: 10.1080/14772000903495833

December 29, 2014 3:57 am

What are people Northern Europe and Canada supposed to think of the alarmists’ touting global warming during the plateau? The last Weichselian glaciation turned these regions practically uninhabitable.

December 29, 2014 4:05 am

The method of discovery is as fascinating is what is discovered.

December 29, 2014 5:30 am

….and all 221 will automatically meet the criteria for endangered and threatened

Reply to  Latitude
December 29, 2014 2:56 pm

Probably the smartest comment here so far……

December 29, 2014 5:58 am

Can anyone tell me exactly how many species there are on this planet? If, as I suspect, the number is unknown, it is impossible to state whether the number of species is decreasing or increasing.

Reply to  PaulH
December 29, 2014 6:13 am

Just because you don’t have all the facts and have no idea whats going on, it doesn’t mean you can’t grab 1 or 2 facts and then make gross generalizations that bring fame and fortune.

Reply to  PaulH
December 29, 2014 6:23 am

Nobody knows the number of species that exist on Earth. It’s guesstimates. Here is why new species will always be discovered. It is the norm, just like extinctions.

Nature – 23 August 2011
Number of species on Earth tagged at 8.7 million
There are 8.7 million eukaryotic species on our planet — give or take 1.3 million. The latest biodiversity estimate, based on a new method of prediction, dramatically narrows the range of ‘best guesses’, which was previously between 3 million and 100 million. It means that a staggering 86% of land species and 91% of marine species remain undiscovered.
PLOS Biology – August 23, 2011
How Many Species Are There on Earth and in the Ocean?
…This approach was validated against well-known taxa, and when applied to all domains of life, it predicts Number ~8.7 million (±1.3 million SE) eukaryotic species globallyNumber , of which ~2.2 million (±0.18 million SE) are marine. In spite of 250 years of taxonomic classification and over 1.2 million species already catalogued in a central database, our results suggest that some Number 86% of existing species on Earth and 91% of species in the ocean still await descriptionNumber ….

December 29, 2014 7:55 am

It’s worse than we thought! According to an article in today’s Daily Telegraph: “The taste of distinctive wines such as Chardonnay & Pinot Noir could be changed by rising temperatures caused by climate change, according to some scientists”
Damn the CO2, they are my two favourite varieties of grapes!!
Yet another bogus claim about AGW!

December 29, 2014 8:14 am

Look at it this way, if they find more species, especially if they are rare or hard to find, they have that many more to claim that are endangered and use this as a tool to stop projects, oil exploration, etc., etc.

Myron Mesecke
December 29, 2014 8:28 am

Ever the pessimist, they point to the discovery of new species as just another sign that man is encroaching into new habitat and therefore causing future harm.

Jed beetle
December 29, 2014 8:41 am

Humans are directly responsible for the current global mass extinction. We are losing species at rates between 1000 and 10,000 times normal background rates due to human activity. While climate change cannot be indicted in any of those extinctions as of yet, the activities which are purported to cause or go hand in hand with climate change most certainly can. Deforestation, carbonification of the ocean, pollution, urban sprawl, mining and drilling….
The irony of pointing out that climate change cannot be proven to have claimed any species and then celebrating the discovery of new species in light of the destruction we continue to wreck on this planet’s biodiversity is a special brand indeed, reserved only for the most intellectually bankrupt.

Alan Robertson
Reply to  Jed beetle
December 29, 2014 9:12 am

Illuminate the darkness in your own black heart and discover if the hatred which you so casually direct at others is worthy of your efforts.

Reply to  Jed beetle
December 29, 2014 9:22 am

Failure in logic : the rate of discovery is not related to the rate of extinction.

Jed beetle
Humans are directly responsible for the current global mass extinction. We are losing species at rates between 1000 and 10,000 times normal background rates due to human activity. While climate change cannot be indicted in any of those extinctions as of yet, the activities which are purported to cause or go hand in hand with climate change most certainly can.

Fine. But, what actual evidence of ANY extinctions due to global warming have actually been found ANYWHERE? We hear exaggerated claims of “tens of thousands” (or 1/4 of all species, etc) but – as of today, 1/6 the way into the century – how many species have been lost due to warming climates anywhere? Shop evidence of ANY extinction rate increase at all the past 85 years. Show actual evidence of “10,000 times” the natural extinction rate the past 85 years.

Reply to  RACookPE1978
December 29, 2014 11:37 am

And, further to RACookPE1978, do, please, define “the natural extinction rate “.
Especially as applied to short periods: 85 years, per Cook, is less than one part in a hundred of the duration of the present interglacial, and something like one part in five thousand of the time since the sapiens and the neanderthalensis lineages separated within Homo (estimates differ, and they may have been some subsequent gene-flow).
If I have been misled, please provide facts that will correct my musings.

Reply to  Jed beetle
December 29, 2014 10:31 am

Jed beetle – Please tell me where I can find the list of extinctions caused by man’s greenhouse gases?
I don’t want ones caused by habitat destruction due to human developments etc. No, no, no. Just the ones caused by our greenhouse gases. If you had read the above WUWT introduction you will notice it focused on climate change and not on deforestation, pollution, urban sprawl, mining and drilling. Don’t try to cause a blur.

Reply to  Jed beetle
December 29, 2014 10:38 am

Jed Beetle says “We are losing species at rates between 1000 and 10,000 times normal background rates due to human activity.”
Can you provide the peer reviewed evidence that asserts this? (Both the rates of extinction and the solid link to human activity).

Reply to  Jed beetle
December 29, 2014 11:02 am

“Humans are directly responsible for the current global mass extinction………While climate change cannot be indicted in any of those extinctions as of yet, the activities which are purported to cause or go hand in hand with climate change most certainly can. Deforestation, carbonification of the ocean, pollution, urban sprawl, mining and drilling……….”
Jed Beetle: Tell ya what Jed. When you’ve provided scientific proof of your first point above, I will consider listening to what people like you have to say. Otherwise, its just religion. You do understand the difference between religion and science, don’t you?
Secondly, humanity admittedly is probably not doing everything it can to reduce/eliminate species habitat loses from deforestation as well as pollution in places like China today. Our standard of living however depends on activities like mining and drilling for oil. When you’ve demonstrated that you have sacrificed your standard of living for Mother Earth and have gone back to living a totally eco-friendly lifestyle that does not contribute to the problems/vices you’ve listed, I will consider listening to you. Do you still drive a fossil-fuelled car…heat and cool your home with fossil fuels? Eat food grown with fossil fuels? Your ranting and raving means little to people like me if you do……

Robert W Turner
Reply to  Jed beetle
December 29, 2014 11:40 am

I love when people write sentences that they believe to be intellectually stimulating when in fact they make no sense at all because it lets us all in that we are dealing with the head-up-arse crowd.

Reply to  Jed beetle
December 29, 2014 2:50 pm

If you turn a rain forest into a car park, you may well eliminate most of the species that were there. If you turn enough rainforest into parking lots, you might be able to extinguish some of those species entirely. But I think the message of the last fifty years has been that it is a lot more difficult to exterminate whole species than one would expect, and certainly more difficult than we are constantly told. Nature’s resilience never ceases to surprise me.
The “1000 to 10000 times normal background rate” that you quote is nonsense on several levels – not the least because we don’t have any idea what a ‘normal background rate’ might be, and from what I remember those figures are generated by modelling alone. Not even worthy of consideration, I’d say.
It is quite wrong to think – as you seem to – that there is a stable, ideal situation for the natural world. I’d be an optimist for the future not only of humanity, but also for biodiversity, and although nasty surprises may be around the corner, I have not seen any evidence to suggest they are likely, let alone inevitable. Cheer up!

Reply to  mothcatcher
December 29, 2014 5:02 pm

I too vaguely recall that Jed’s assertions are model driven. He also needs to learn about refugia – that’s how some made it through the last glaciation.
“Refugia revisited: individualistic responses of species in space and time”

Reply to  Jed beetle
January 1, 2015 6:25 pm

Nice screed.
They’ll still saw your head off though.
You think we are “intellectually bankrupt”.
The 7th century is only a plane flight away.
They like foreigners to star in their snuff films.

Reply to  Jed beetle
January 1, 2015 6:41 pm

Whoa there, big guy! Slow down.
As Willis pointedly asks, where are the bodies? Those are some big numbers you’re giving.
So, where are the bodies??

Alan Robertson
December 29, 2014 9:00 am

Mankind’s understanding of creation and evolutionary processes is far from complete. In our own time and on more than one occasion, we have witnessed genetic adaptation of species to a particular environmental circumstance. We have not witnessed any concurrent appearance of equally viable species which evince no particularly enhanced adaptation to circumstantial need. Observers have noted that these phenomena may be far more than serendipitous and instead, may indicate a mechanism within the collective consciousness of a species which appears to identify and subsequently meet a need.

December 29, 2014 9:39 am

There is a fundamental lesson in empirical science hidden here: It is impossible to meaningfully track variations in a variable when the baseline is undetermined.

David Ball
December 29, 2014 10:04 am
December 29, 2014 2:37 pm

Doesn’t happen every year! Two new butterfly species found in eastern North America-
My SC butterfly field guide is presently online, and I’m working on two more Mexican ones including possible, endemic new species on Cozumel-
Some species are definitely threatened by habitat loss, but none, so far as I know, from global warming/climate change.

Brandon Gates
December 29, 2014 10:04 pm

It appears we’re a bit confused by the difference between discovering a species, and a species coming into existence.

David A
Reply to  Brandon Gates
January 2, 2015 8:14 am

Perhaps you are Brandon. In general it is best to speak for oneself.

December 30, 2014 5:20 am

It’s another Eureka moment down under-
“Dr Doughty said this goanna diverged from its closest living relative — the short-tailed monitor — around six to seven million years ago, about the same time humans and chimpanzees split off from their common ancestor.”
And here’s a pic of the new chum or very ancient chum as the case may be-

December 30, 2014 5:26 am

Yeah I know, makes you wonder how the little blighter survived all that climate change just like the ancestors and we did.

December 30, 2014 5:43 am

Remiss of me not to describe what an Aussie ‘Eureka moment’ is for our US friends, et al so here is its Oz roots-
Unfortunately lefty union types have more recently adopted the Eureka flag as a misappropriated sign of union solidarity, whilst many of us prefer to think of it as a cross between the Boston Tea Party and Australia’s first tax revolt. Unfortunately it didn’t lead to the constitutional right to bear arms except for various villains and certain problematic ISIS barrackers of late.

December 31, 2014 5:51 pm
January 1, 2015 4:54 pm

“One recent article claimed that: Humans are turning the Earth into a ‘lonely and very dangerous planet‘…”
Even if true, species have been preparing for it for millions of years; they’ve grown horns, fashioned poison darts (among other injection systems), learned to build up electrical charges…
I don’t even want to know what microbial warfare involves 🙂
So, what else is new ?

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