Aided by new access to remote regions, researchers have been discovering new species at a record pace — 16,969 in 2006 alone. The challenge now is to preserve threatened ecosystems before these species, and others yet unknown, are lost.
by bruce stutz
Even as biodiversity seems to be everywhere under threat or in retreat, scientists are discovering and naming new species at a greater rate than anytime during taxonomy’s 250-year history. Some 25 percent of all known amphibian species were discovered only over the last ten years, a period when their numbers worldwide have been in desperate decline. Since 1993 the number of known mammal species has increased 10 percent.