New biological species
This article treats new biological species discovered and described by science. It does not relate to the formation of new species (or Spéciation) during the biological evolution.
Why new species?Biological news Espèce S is regularly defined each année.
The appearance of a new species in the nomenclature can be done in three principal ways:
- discovered in the nature of a species completely different from what is known hitherto,
- new interpretation of a known species which actually proves to be made up of several close species but however quite distinct. This mode of appearance of species is in increase since it is possible to analyze very finely the Génome by methods of study and comparison of DNA, these methods leading in addition to rehandlings of classification by a better comprehension of the relationship of the Taxon S (Phylogénie). For this type of creation of new species, two circumstances are possible: either an already definite subspecies is high with the statute of species, in which case the name, the author and the date are preserved, or it is necessary to give a new name to part of the population of the old species,
- discovered of a new species by the thorough study of the specimens preserved in the museums and the collections.
These three circumstances have jointly to be subjected to the problem of the number of qualified world specialists able to recognize the new character of a specimen. It is one of the reasons for which the number of new species each year, in a taxinomic category given, is about constant.
For specifying well the complete name of a species, it (or them) author (S) of description must be indicated following the scientific name, as well as the year of publication in the scientific publication. The name given in the initial description of a species is called the basionyme. This name can have to change thereafter for various reasons.
As far as possible, in fact the currently valid names are indicated, as well as the discoverers, the countries of origin and the publications in which descriptions were made.
Discovery with scientific descriptionThe discovery of a new species is a first stage which, often, does not merge with the formal scientific description of this species. It is very frequent that collectors (exploring, missionaries, diplomats, travellers, récolteurs, collectors) are the first to put the hand on specimens biological, conscious or not of the innovation of their lucky finds. Very often also, the species which prove to be new for science (" occidentale" , become universal) are well-known by the inhabitants of the countries where the species saw, and even often appear in the nomenclatures autochtones. Consequently, a certain time, sometimes considerable, can pass between the discovery, within the meaning of certainty which it is about a new species, and the scientific description formalized by a publication answering well codified rules, which will insert the species concerned in fauna or the world flora by giving him a new and single scientific name.
Geography of the new speciesCertain areas of the world are more favourable with the discovery of new species, sometimes according to the biological groups considered: one can quote in particular South America for the primates, the rodents and the birds, Madagascar for the lemurs, and more generally Indo-Malaysia and Mélanésie (in particular New Guinea and New Caledonia), China, sub-Saharan Africa, the Indian sub-continent and the Indochinese peninsula.
Discoverers and descriptorsCertain naturalists are particularly fertile in discoveries, such as for example Paul Coopmans, operative Belgian zoologist in Ecuador and Peru, Tim Flannery, mammalogist and Australian paleontologist, or Bret Whitney, expert in songs of birds.
PublicationsIn the lodging field of the publications of descriptions of new species, one could see appearing for the first time, with the arrival of the periodicals in line, the first exclusively electronic descriptions.
How much new species each year?According to the zoological or botanical groups, the number of described new species each year varies considerably. The table below indicates the median number of new species over one ten years period (many species rounded per annum to the unit over the period 1978-1987):
It is noted in addition that, in a given biological group, the precise number of species described is rather constant, as shows it the following table (including the new alive species and fossils described during the time 1979-1988; the column " Vertébrés" joins together the mammals, birds, reptiles and Amphibians)
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