Saturday is the 308th birthday of Carolus Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist who took it upon himself to classify all plants and animals on Earth. Taxonomists at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry celebrate the occasion by highlighting 10 fascinating species that were discovered in the last year.
The creatures on this year’s list were chosen from among about 18,000 contenders, all of which got official names in the last year. Altogether, taxonomists have given scientific names to nearly 2 million species – and they estimate 10 million more species now alive on the planet are waiting to be discovered.
Some of the creatures on this year’s list were recognized for stunning appearance. Others amazed scientists with their intricate behavior, including cartwheeling across sand dunes and deploying sophisticated chemical defenses against would-be predators. One frog species was commended for doing something scientists previously thought was impossible. And an ocean-dwelling animal is so unlike any species alive today that it may represent an entirely new phylum. (That’s the taxonomic category right below kingdom.)
“We have only begun to explore the astonishing origin, history, and diversity of life," Quentin Wheeler, president of the College and director of its International Institute for Species Exploration, said in a statement.
To learn more about these and other newly discovered species, you can peruse the photo gallery above. Be sure to click the "show caption" arrow.
Happy birthday, Carolus Linnaeus!