Last week, scientists discovered a brand new (and can I just say, ADORABLE) mammal in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador – the Olinquito.
My first thought (besides how cute…obviously) was wow – so those scientists in Ecuador really were telling the truth!?
This summer, I traveled to Ecuador and spent the weekend at a research facility located in a remote and pristine section of the Amazon Rainforest. All weekend, I overheard scientists marveling at the abundant biodiversity of life around us:
“I casually found three species of plants on our hike today,”
“Did you see that heard of (insert one of a kind mammal here)?”
“Today I got bitten by a larger than life ant…a beetle that smells like gym socks…and a monster.”
But I thought to myself really…really? Is this area really that crazy diverse? Well, shame on me for doubting. Within weeks of my return to the states, a new mammal species was discovered in Ecuador. So yeah, apparently the region is really that diverse. The Olinguito Doesn’t Lie.
Here are some facts about species biodiversity in the Amazon Rainforest, and they are just absurd:
- More than 1200 new species of plants and animals were discovered in the Amazon region Between 1999 and 2009 – that’s an average of 3 new species every day!
- More species of plants and animals call the Amazon home than any other place on Earth – The Amazon is home to at least 10% of the world’s known species
- One in every five bird species in the world live in the Amazon rainforest
The research facility we stayed in was located just outside Yasuni National Park – and the facts for this super remote portion of the jungle are just straight up insane:
- One hectare (2.47 acres) of land in Yasuní contains 655 tree species – that’s more tree species than are found in the continental United States and Canada… combined.
- One hectare (2.47 acres) of forest in Yasuní contains 100,000 insect species… it’s estimated that is the highest diversity per unit area for any plant or animal group in the entire world.
So yeah, touche Amazon rain forest. You’re pretty diverse.
You’re up: If you discovered a species of animal what kind of animal would you want it to be? And what would you call it?!