While 2020 was most definitely a year of uncertainty, scientists at London’s Natural History Museum were certainly pleased to wrap up the year by announcing that, over the last 12 months, they’ve identified a total of 503 new species belonging to almost all kingdoms of life.
As a result of lockdown restrictions, the museum closed its doors to the public. But that didn’t stop scientists from continuing their crucial work behind closed doors, making new discoveries, and providing valuable information to the scientific community across the world.
“Once again, an end of year tally of new species has revealed a remarkable diversity of life forms and minerals hitherto undescribed,” said Dr. Tim Littlewood, executive director of science at the museum. “The Museum’s collection of specimens provide a resource within which to find new species as well as a reference set to recognize specimens and species as new.”
Among the 503 newly identified species is a lungless salamander, an armored slug, and a critically endangered monkey called Popa Iangur, which we shared a story about not long ago.
Identifying new species is key to protecting habitats where vulnerable forms of life may reside. That’s why the work done by scientists at the Natural History Museum is so important.