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New Species Discovered More Often Than You Think

86 percent of existing species on land and 91 percent of species in the ocean have yet to be described

You may not realize it but, new species are still being found all the time. Well, not all the time. But with scientists estimating that 86 percent of existing species on land and 91 percent of species in the ocean have yet to be described, it's not an unheard of occurrence. Over the last month, for example, a new species of bat, dolphin and shark were discovered.

Here's the low-down on each.

12 New Frogs and Then Some

A dozen new species of frogs and three species previously thought to be extinct were found in India's tropical rainforest. Scientists often use amphibians, 32 percent of which are threatened with extinction due to habitat loss, to gauge climate change and pollutants.

Some of these newly found frogs have very specified habitats. Scientists are pushing from stronger conservation rules of these areas, but as biologist Sathyabhama Das Biju of the University of Delhi said to the Associated Press, "Unfortunately in India, conservation has basically focused on the two most charismatic animals -- the elephant and the tiger. For amphibians there is little interest, little funding, and frog research is not easy."

The Beelzebub Bat

Three bat species were recently identified in southeast Asia. One of them is nicknamed the Beelzebub bat, due to its diabolic coloration and attitude. National Geographic has more:

Despite the fiendish name, Beelzebub bats are typically shy creatures, doing their best to avoid humans in their remote rain forest habitat in Vietnam, scientists say. If captured, however, the bats can turn fierce, noted study co-author Neil Furey, a biologist with the conservation group Fauna & Flora International. "Once in the hand, they will do their best to escape," Furey said. "In essence, they exhibit a 'flight' first and 'fight' second response—the latter only when they have no other option."

The Blaze wondered just how common it was to find new species of bats. After all, they are mammals and many scientists hold that most of the mammal species on Earth have been identified. Furey clarified for us.

First of, he said in an email to The Blaze, by "most mammal species on Earth" being identified, scientists mean large mammas.

"The rate of new discoveries of bats has accelerated greatly over the last decade in southeast Asia due to improved techniques -- field capture and taxonomic -- and survey coverage," Furey said. "This will likely continue for some time yet."

Dolphin -- Rare Large Mammal Discovery

Scientists discovered a new species of dolphin, which is only the third announced since the 1800s.

Up until this point, the researchers at Kate Charlton-Robb of Monash University in Melbourne assumed the 150 dolphins around the area were of the bottlenose variety. They were wrong.BBC has more:

. . .Melbourne and her colleagues studied dolphin skulls found in a number of museums, as well as more detailed analysis of DNA, to show that T. australis is clearly a different animal.

"This is an incredibly fascinating discovery as there have only been three new dolphin species formally described and recognised since the late 1800s," Ms Charlton-Robb said.

"What makes this even more exciting is this dolphin species has been living right under our noses, with only two known resident populations living in Port Phillip Bay and the Gippsland Lakes in Victoria state."

Food Market Shark

While the bat species were found in the Vietnamese rain forest, which is how most people may picture new species being found, but here's one from an unlikely place. This new species of shark was recently found in a Taiwanese food market. But it’s not the first time species have been discovered this way.

According to National Geographic the scientists who discovered the new species were at the food market specifically to "collect some material and to see whether there were noticeable differences in the [shark] catches from previous decades":

monkey, a lizard, and an "extinct" bird have all been discovered en route to the dinner plate, and now a new shark species joins their ranks, scientists report. "Most fish markets in the region will regularly contain sharks," William White, of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Hobart, Australia, said via email.

. . .

"Amongst a number of other species, we collected a number of Squalus species—one of which was this new high-fin species."

This new species is a type of dogfish shark, distinguishable from other species by its first fin on its back, a strong spine, and a very short, rounded head, according to White. The scientists believe the new species, Squalus formosus, is only found in water near Taiwan and Japan.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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