Sometimes it feels like everything has been discovered. It seems like we have been everywhere that humans, or any animals, can possibly go, and have found everything there is to find. It has recently been proven, however, that the world is still full of surprises. Lots of them.
Between 2009 and 2014, over 200 species have been discovered in the Himalayas. More precisely, hundreds of plants, as well as many reptiles, birds, fish, amphibians, and even a snub-nosed monkey that sneezes. It sort of makes one wonder why so many new species have been found in one particular area. There are probably a couple of reasons for that.
One is that the Himalayas are one of the most inaccessible places to explore and regularly keep tabs on.
Another reason is that the mountain range spans across five countries, including China, Nepal, Bhutan, India, and Pakistan, making it one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world.
Obviously, the number of new species that have been discovered is too great to discuss in depth, so I have opted to rely on bias and pick a few of my favorites.
First up is a yet unnamed frog who lives in piles of leaves next to streams in India. At only about 2 inches long, this little guy would be easy to miss, were it not for his strikingly bright blue eyes. As someone who has always loved amphibians, I found this frog to be one of the most fascinating discoveries.
Another recently discovered creature that is similarly striking in its appearance, is the lance-headed pit viper. It’s found all throughout the Himalayas, typically lives in trees, and is venomous.
Meanwhile in the waters of West Bengal, India, dwarf snakehead fish lurk in the depths. They are a predatory fish that tend to attack their prey from below. They are also capable of breathing air through their gills and traveling short distances on land.
Last for this article’s purposes, but certainly not least, is a new species of banana. Found in India, the Musi markkui, as it is formally referred to, is now just one of 23 species of banana that exist in India, and 73 species that exist worldwide. And here I thought there was just one.
As you can see, many incredible things have been discovered on this planet in a relatively short amount of time. It makes one wonder what kinds of natural and unnatural treasures are in store for us in the future.