I just got an email – below – from Francine Brondex in France, asking about the numbers of new mammals described in 2013. My reply is also below but we’d love to know what others think…
As a biologist and science writer, I am working on a book about a vast biodiversity inventory in a French/italian protected area, Meracntour / Alpi Marittime. The inventory was mainly focused on invertebrates and weird vegetal living things, not that much on mammals. A pretty impressive number of new species has been described. And I was curious about the number of mammal species described or re-discovered in 2013 (Tapirus kabomani, Saola and others…), to have a comparison. I am pretty sure that you or someone in the mammalwatching community could answer this question.
Would appreciate any help on the subject!
Communication – Médiation scientifique et patrimoniale
Biodiversité – Développement Durable
The short answer is I don’t know. A slightly longer answer is I’d guess about 20. And a longer answer still, is, as you note, when is a new mammal a new mammal? Last year’s “discovery” of the olingito hit the headlines and yet the animal was well known, just not recognised as being different to the Olingo. Then there are a number of other cryptic species discovered as being new on the basis of DNA (and many would disagree about the validity of these). I’d say only 1 or 2 obviously different species are genuinely discovered each year.
But let’s see what the blog thinks!