Monday, June 23, 2008

Top Ten New Species of 2007 Named: Numbers One and Two

Hot-pink millipedes, "Michelin Man" plants, and lethal jellyfish are among the surprising top 10 new species of 2007. Each day this week I will introduce you to two of these fascinating new species, named in May 2008 by the IISE (International Institute for Species Exploration). The IISE, at Arizona State University, will release this ranking every year to draw attention to the importance of taxonomy and species exploration. The winners, who were chosen from a pool of thousands, were based on peculiar names and unique and surprising attributes, among other criteria.

Number One: Ornate Sleeper Ray (Elecrolux addisoni)
This ray is a species of electric ray that has powerful suction capabilities. In fact, this quirky ray is named after the Electrolux vacuum cleaner company. It is the largest known member of the electric ray family, and it has light-shedding electrogenic properties.

Number Two: Giant Duck-Dilled Dinosaur (Gryposaurus monumentensis)
The above fossil, discovered by high school students in southern Utah in 2002, dates back 75 million years. Gryposaurus means "hook-beaked lizard" and monumentensis refers to the monument where the fossils were found. Scientists believe that the duck-billed dinosaur was approximately 30 feet long, weighed over several tons, had over 800 teeth, and his lower jaws measured two feet. While this dinosaur's diet remains a mystery, it is believed that he fed on large forest plants.

Come back tomorrow for the next two top new species of 2007. You won't want to miss out on these interesting critters!

To see a slideshow of the top ten new species of 2007 named, visit National Geographic.

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