By Zoe Le, Clarion Staff
As 2015 came to a close, many people took time to reflect on what had happened throughout the year. Resolutions were made, movies were released, and Kanye West making a fool of himself went viral yet again. However, there is one frequently overlooked area of accomplishment that was achieved during this past year; the numerous new species of animals that were discovered by researchers across the globe.
One particularly interesting creature that was discovered was a new species of anglerfish found at around 1,500 meters down in the Gulf of Mexico. Three females were found and ranged between 30-95mm in length, so they’re a lot smaller than you would think based on their creepy appearance. It’s thought that males would be even smaller, as is common in anglerfish. The research team that discovered the tiny creatures were given increased funding and continue to study the creatures in the gulf.
Speaking of tiny creatures, seven new species of frogs were discovered in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. They live on secluded mountaintops and were discovered by a research team lead by Marcio Pie last June. Each frog is less than one centimeter long and come in a variety of bright colors. Researchers say that the amphibians are likely so brightly colored to warn predators of the neurotoxins they secrete. The incredible number of new species discovered by the research team suggest that there may be more frogs inhabiting the area than previously thought.
Although there were dozens of new living animals discovered in 2015, what’s more interesting then those are the numerous extinct animals found and excavated. Dinosaurs that were recently unearthed have shed new light onto how they evolved and their relation to modern day birds. One such example is the Zhenyuanlong suni, a cousin of the velociraptor. It had short arms and a tail, both were covered with long bird feathers. It is thought that the creature was covered with feathers or some sort of downy fur. 2015 was a great year for animal researchers everywhere and has left a huge mark on the scientific community. Here’s to hoping that 2016 will yield similar amazing results.