Researchers and scientists have found three new species of dwarf dragons hiding out in the dense Andes Mountain cloud forests of Peru and Ecuador. While finding a new species of animal or plant must be an amazing personal accomplishment for any scientist or researcher, there is no need to uncork the champagne just yet.
It is estimated that there have been about 1.3 million species of living organisms discovered and identified – that is quite a list. However, the list of living species that have not been discovered is even more elongated. A recent study has suggested that there may be as many as 6.8 million species that have yet to be identified. Put that together with the 567,000 fungi and 90,000 plants and it may just be a matter of wandering around in a backyard, and bumping into the next species discovery.
While it may be unlikely a person would run into an unidentified new species in their backyard, it is possible. Yes, while most new species that are awaiting discovery live in remote places like rain-forests and beneath the sea, there have been recent discoveries of animals and plants that could be found living in the neighborhood park. In fact, one discovery of three new types of fungi were found in a bag of mushrooms purchased at a grocery store.
Studies show that new species of living organisms are being found at a rate of approximately 15,000 to 20,000 a year. At that rate, it is hard to understand why so much attention is being paid to the discovery of the newly discovered dwarf dragons in the Andes, and why all of the hype is being generated. There are not hundreds of articles written on the 15,000 – 20,000 other species that are found each year.
A good reason could be found in the name of this new-found creature. What has been reported by most media outlets is that researchers have discovered new species of dwarf dragons in the Andes. That sounds pretty amazing and is certainly an attention grabber. To be clear, the dwarf dragon that was discovered in the Andes is not an actual fire-breathing dragon. It is, in fact, a species of lizard that is fairly common in tropical rainforests. Nine already known species of this type of lizard already exist in the Andes region. They have been given the name dwarf dragon because they resemble a small dragon. Rest assured though, none will be flying or breathing fire any time soon.
Congratulations are certainly in order for those scientists that discovered these dwarf dragons, or commonly found lizards in the Andes Mountains. It is no small feat to traverse the wilderness or some remote part of the world in discovery of new life. However, the discovery of the dwarf dragon in the Andes is not worth the hype that it is receiving. It deserves no more attention than the 20,000 other species of animal that will be found over the course of the next year. The only excitement that those other discoveries are lacking, is the excitement found in their name.
Opinion By Alec Rosenberg
Photo By David Rosen – Flickr License