Age of Mammalian Discovery

Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 27th, 2009

In the inner precincts of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, along a corridor that could easily accommodate a string of bowling alleys, Kristofer M. Helgen, curator of mammals, pulled open one of the thousands of metal cabinets stacked against the walls and gestured grandly at the contents. Inside was a tray of a dozen dried rodents, chestnut-furred and with tails neatly extended, like campfire wieners on sticks. He opened other drawers, revealing small, fox-faced bats, and a pair of giant bats with fierce, bicuspid canines, and a weasel-sized mammal with a pendulous snout, and a bat whose translucent, mottled wings looked like parachutes for G. I. Joe.

The animals came from New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Kenya, Sulawesi, but they all had one trait in common: they were new to science, some of them so new they had yet to be named. And the Smithsonian specimens are just part of a much wider trend. Fabio Röhe of the Bronx Zoo’s Wildlife Conservation Society and his colleagues just announced the discovery of a new monkey in the Brazilian Amazon, a petite saddleback tamarin with a foot-long tail and a pelt of rust, gray and dappled gold, while other scientists with the conservation group have lately detected new primate species in Bolivia, India and Tanzania.

Since the last summary of the world’s mammals was published in 2005, tallying the roughly 5,400 mammalian species then known, Dr. Helgen said, an astounding 400 or so new species have been added to the list. “Most people don’t realize this,” he said, “but we are smack-dab in the middle of the age of discovery for mammals.”

Click for enlarged image.

The Anomalist points to an important piece that Cryptomundo readers may wish to read this to its end, here: “New Creatures in an Age of Extinctions,” by Natalie Angier of The New York Times, July 26, 2009.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

2 Responses to “Age of Mammalian Discovery”

  1. cryptidsrus responds:

    Good article, Loren. Dr. Helgen is right. Power to him.

  2. CryptidHuntr responds:

    cool. thanx for the post Loren

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