Scientists announce top 10 new species described in 2007

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Washington, May 24 : Scientists have announced the top ten new species described in 2007, which include an extinct animal as well.

The announcement was made by the International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University and an international committee of taxonomists, who are scientists responsible for species exploration and classification.

On the list are an ornate sleeper ray dubbed "Electrolux", a 75-million-year-old giant duck-billed dinosaur; a pink millipede; a rare, off-the-shelf frog; and, one of the most venomous snakes in the world.

Other species on the list include a fruit bat; a mushroom; a jellyfish named after its victim; a life-imitates-art "Dim" rhinoceros beetle; and the "Michelin Man" plant.

The ornate sleeper ray, called Electrolux addisoni, whose name reflects the vigorous sucking action displayed on the videotape of the feeding ray from the east coast of South Africa, may rival a well-known electrical device used to suck the detritus from carpets.

Also on the list is a 75-million-year-old giant duck-billed dinosaur - Gryposaurus monumentensis - discovered in southern Utah by a team from Alf Museum, a California-based paleontology museum on a high school campus.

From the plant kingdom is the "Michelin Man" plant - Tecticornia bibenda - a succulent plant in Western Australia that resembles the Michelin tire man.

In the category of life imitating art is a "Dim" rhinoceros beetle - Megaceras briansaltini - that, according to the author, looks like the Dim character from the Disney film "A Bug's Life."

According to Professor Quentin Wheeler, an entomologist and director of ASU's International Institute for Species Exploration, "The international committee of taxon experts who made the selection of the top 10 from the thousands of species described in calendar year 2007 is helping draw attention to biodiversity, the field of taxonomy, and the importance of natural history museums and botanical gardens in a fun-filled way."

"Charting the species of the world and their unique attributes are essential parts of understanding the history of life and is in our own self-interest as we face the challenges of living on a rapidly changing planet," he added.

The taxonomists are also issuing a SOS - State of Observed Species report card on human knowledge of Earth's species. In it, they report that 16,969 species new to science were discovered and described in 2006.

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