Friday, April 29, 2011

The undiscovered world is all around us

Wonderful essay about the 2002 discovery of a new insect order (the Mantophasmatodea). In a few years they went from unrecognized fossil specimens to being seen almost everywhere ...

Rob Dunn blogging for Sci Am: Man discovers a new life-form at a South African truck stop:

... What was required to discover the Mantaphasmatodes, whether the species on top of the Massif or the species at the truck stop, was the realization that no one else knew what they were. Once that realization was made, discovering them was both easier and more interesting. Until then, the Mantaphasmatodes, like much of life, seemed (wrongly) likely to be known by some expert in a university somewhere. Yet they were not known, just as most of life is not known.

It was only recently that it was discovered that mice sing to each other. It was not so very long ago that it was discovered that clouds are filled with bacteria. What else remains to be known? Nearly everything....

After reading the essay, I recommend a visit to the Brandberg Massif via Google Maps/Earth. Be sure to turn on the photos and wikipedia layers.

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