The Corner

1,000 New Species

This is a very cool story:

BANGKOK (AFP) – Scientists have discovered more than 1,000 species in Southeast Asia’s Greater Mekong region in the past decade, including a spider as big as a dinner plate, the World Wildlife Fund said Monday.

A rat thought to have become extinct 11 million years ago and a cyanide-laced, shocking pink millipede were among creatures found in what the group called a “biological treasure trove”.

The species were all found in the rainforests and wetlands along the Mekong River, which flows through Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the southern Chinese province of Yunnan.

“It doesn’t get any better than this,” Stuart Chapman, director of WWF’s Greater Mekong Programme, was quoted as saying in a statement by the group.

“We thought discoveries of this scale were confined to the history books.”

But this is my favorite part:

Not all species were found hiding in remote jungles — the Laotian rock rat, which the study said was thought to be extinct about 11 million years ago, was first encountered by scientists in a local food market in 2005, it said.

One species of pit viper was first noted by scientists after it was found in the rafters of a restaurant at the headquarters of Thailand’s Khao Yai national park in 2001.

First they didn’t have the bamboo umbrellas for the drinks, then they have presumably extinct pit vipers in the rafters! Remove them! And bring me the cheese sandwich appetizers you talked me out of!

[Apologies to The Jerk]

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