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Mardi, 03 Janvier 2012 12:30

Still a Wild World: Top New Animals of 2011

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Burrunan Dolphin

Even though 7 billion people live in Earth's every corner, and several centuries of scientists have catalogued its natural wonders, unknown creatures continue to be found.

This year's additions included a dolphin hiding in plain sight, a monkey that sneezes too much and an eel of exceptional pedigree. On the following pages, Wired looks at our favorite new animals (and one very special fungi).


Most large, charismatic species were discovered by the 19th century's end. Only four new dolphin species have been described since then -- and one is the Burrunan dolphin of Australia's Port Phillip Bay, right in the oceanic backyard of Melbourne.

Until last year, they were thought to be bottlenose dolphins. When biologists took a closer look, they found otherwise: Burrunans are genetically and physically distinct, most visibly in their short noses. About 150 are known to exist, and more may live elsewhere.

While most newly discovered animals come from dense rain forests or deep oceans or places otherwise inaccessible, Burrunan dolphins are a reminder that even everyday nature remains a frontier.

Image: Monash University /EPA
Still a Wild World: Top New Animals of 2011Brandon is a Wired Science reporter and freelance journalist. Based in Brooklyn, New York and sometimes Bangor, Maine, he's fascinated with science, culture, history and nature.
Follow @9brandon on Twitter.


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