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10 Amazing New Animal Species Discovered In 2012

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4.  Lesula Monkey – Democratic Republic of Congo

Image by John Hart

Cercopithecus lomamiensis is a newly discovered species of African monkey found in central Democratic Republic of Congo. Together with the ‘honk barking’ Highland mangabeys (Lophocebus kipunji) of Tanzania, C. lomamiensis is only the second new species of monkey discovered in Africa in the past 28 years. Called “Lesula” by locals, the monkey was discovered by a team led by conservation biologist John Hart from the Lukuru Wildlife Research Foundation. While there is so far no logging or mining taking place in the region, hunting represents an immediate threat to the species’ survival, according to the researchers. “For species with restricted ranges and reliance on primary forest, such as C. lomamiensis, uncontrolled hunting can lead to catastrophic declines over a short period,” the researchers state, calling for heightened conservation efforts and hunting controls to be established.

5. Meat-Eating Sponge - California’s Monterey Bay

Chondrocladia lyra is a meat-eating sea sponge shaped like a candelabra. It was spotted living two miles below the surface of California’s Monterey Bay and features branching limbs covered in velcro-like barbed hooks that help the sponge snare crustaceans as they are swept into its branches by deep-sea currents. ”We were just amazed. No one had ever seen this animal with their own eyes before,” said Lonny Lundsten, an invertebrate biologist at the Monterey Bay Research Aquarium Institute. The team believes the harp sponge evolved this elaborate, candelabra-like structure to increase the surface area it exposes to currents so it can capture more prey.

6. Purple Yoda Worm - Mid-Atlantic Ridge between Iceland and the Azores

Photo by David Shale

Yoda  purpurata is the name now given by a University of Aberdeen-led team of scientists to one of three new species of deep sea acorn worms or Enteropneusts discovered around 1.5 miles below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. A reddish-purple acorn worm with large lips either side of its head region reminded researchers of floppy-eared Star Wars character Yoda while pupurata is Latin for purple and describes its colorful hue. “Whilst they are not strictly a missing link in our own evolution they give an insight into what the lifestyle of our remote ancestors might have been like,” said Professor Monty Priede, Director of the University of Aberdeen’s Oceanlab, who led the research. ”Despite their recent discovery these animals are not rare in the deep, and now we have the technology we are finding them in abundance. The next question to be addressed is the role they play in the deep sea ecosystem.”

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112 comments

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8:33PM PST on Mar 2, 2013

wonderful.

7:35AM PST on Mar 1, 2013

the Obama fish is beautiful. Awesome discoveries! thanks

3:10PM PST on Feb 13, 2013

Some very interesting new creatures. I hope they survive the climate change that is caused by us humans.

5:38PM PST on Jan 20, 2013

Thank you Beth, for Sharing this!

7:02PM PST on Jan 10, 2013

cool

1:12PM PST on Dec 31, 2012

I agree with JOY, new creatures or newly discovered! They are there we just need to find them.

6:33AM PST on Dec 31, 2012

Interesting.

7:47AM PST on Dec 30, 2012

New creatures or newly discovered?

12:00PM PST on Dec 29, 2012

Very interesting. Tks!

6:27AM PST on Dec 29, 2012

Interesting, thanks.

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