Third of amphibians said unknown; lurk in forestsOSLO |
(Reuters) - One in three of all types of amphibians may yet to be found by scientists and remote tropical forests should get extra protection as the likely homes of such "unknown" creatures, a study said on Wednesday.Despite centuries of research by biologists, the report estimated that 3,050 types of amphibians -- a group that includes frogs, toads, salamanders and newts -- were still to be described, compared to 6,296 species known to science.Likewise, it estimated that at least 160 types of land mammals were yet to be found, about 3 percent of a known total of 5,398 ranging from elephants to tiny shrews."Most of these species are likely to be found in tropical forests," Xingli Giam, of Princeton University in the United States and lead author of the report, told Reuters. The Amazon, the Congo basin and Papua island were among likely sites.The study estimated the number of unknown species from factors including past rates of discovery of new animals and the extent of unexplored habitats. As a rule, creatures found in recent years tended to be ever rarer, limited to small ranges."Many of the undescribed species...are probably in danger of extinction and could well disappear before they are discovered," according to the study in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B by experts in the United States, Mexico and Singapore.
There is hope for finding cryptids then!