Great news for indoor-kids who still want to discover new species of life: Most new species are described in labs and museums an average of 21 years after they were initially collected. A study shows that everything we thought we knew about discovering new life was wrong. We're okay with that. We'd rather go to a museum than a rain forest anyway.
Reseachers at Duke University have named a newly discovered genus of fern in honor of pop star Lady Gaga, because, okay, we don't really know why. Because she wore a dress that looks similar to the structure of some species of fern in this genus to the Grammys and some scientists have pretty good senses of humor, we guess? It also presumably works for Lady Gaga, because hey, no matter how big and fancy a pop star you are, it's nice to have living things named in your honor, right? We have to assume so, because no one is ever going to name anything after anyone here.
Proving once again that there are still places on our own planet that have yet to yield all their secrets, scientists have discovered a unique eel off the coast of the Republic of Palau in the Pacific Ocean. This eel has been dubbed a "living fossil" due to its unusually primitive features. These features led researchers to create a new taxonomic family to classify the eel in relation to other eel species. The eel, described in the researchers' paper in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, is an 18cm-long female, collected during a dive in an 35-m deep underwater cave. The species was named Protoanguilla palau, according to the new family, genus, and species names bestowed by the researchers. According to the researchers from Chiba's Natural History Museum in Japan, the Southern Marine Laboratory in Palau, and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC, the eel likely embarked on an independent evolutionary history millions of years ago.