Top 10 Rarest Animals Discovered in the Last Decade

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Our planet is a continuous source of wonder, with new species being discovered even as many are on the brink of extinction. The last decade alone has unveiled a multitude of fascinating creatures, many of which are incredibly rare, further accentuating the importance of preserving the diversity of our Earth. Below is a compilation of ten of the rarest animals uncovered in the last ten years, each extraordinary in their own right.

1. Illacme Tobini (2016)

Illacme Tobini (2016)

The Illacme Tobini is a rare discovery from the caves of Sequoia National Park, USA. This astonishing millipede sports 414 legs and even has the capability to produce silk. Its highly specialized habitat underlines the significance of protecting delicate ecosystems from human disturbance and climate change. This arthropod is a vivid illustration of the myriad of life forms yet to be explored in our world’s subterranean realms.

2. Kaweesak’s Dragon Tree (2012)

Kaweesak's Dragon Tree (2012)

Though technically a plant, the Kaweesak’s Dragon Tree from Thailand and Burma stands out with its long, soft, sword-like leaves and beautiful, cream-coloured flowers. Beyond its aesthetic appeal, it holds promise for research into plant biology and evolution, shedding light on the rich biodiversity of the Southeast Asian region.

3. Pliosaurus Funkei (2012)

Kaweesak's Dragon Tree (2012)

The Pliosaurus Funkei, or ‘Predator X’, is a marine reptile from the Jurassic period. Discovered in Norway, this massive creature offers an invaluable insight into the marine life that once dominated the ancient oceans, furthering our understanding of Earth’s extensive natural history.

4. Olinguito (2013)

 Olinguito (2013)

In the cloud forests of Colombia and Ecuador dwells the Olinguito, a small mammal bearing similarities to both cats and teddy bears. As the first new carnivorous mammal described in the Western Hemisphere in 35 years, it is a critical addition to the mammalian family tree, offering fresh perspectives on mammal evolution and diversity.

5. Dendrogramma Enigmatica (2014)

Dendrogramma Enigmatica (2014)

This peculiar deep-sea organism, found off Australia’s coast, possesses a mushroom-like appearance that puzzled scientists, leading to its classification in a new phylum. The Dendrogramma Enigmatica is a testament to the uncharted biodiversity lurking in the depths of our oceans.

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6. Scolopendra Cataracta (2016)

Scolopendra Cataracta (2016)

This newly found centipede in Southeast Asia is the world’s first known amphibious centipede. Beyond its daunting appearance and venomous bite, its aquatic adaptation underscores the incredible evolutionary versatility of life, showcasing the boundless forms and functionalities it can assume.

7. Geckolepis Megalepis (2017)

Geckolepis Megalepis (2017)

The Geckolepis Megalepis, discovered in Madagascar, is a gecko with large, fish-like scales that it can shed completely to evade predators. This defence mechanism highlights the myriad of survival strategies employed by different species, contributing to our understanding of evolution and animal behaviour.

8. Gracilimus Radix (2015)

Gracilimus Radix (2015)

The Gracilimus Radix, or ‘slender root rat’ found in Sulawesi, Indonesia, is unique for its omnivorous diet amidst typically herbivorous relatives. It accentuates the vast dietary adaptations within the animal kingdom, elucidating the intricate web of ecological relationships.

9. Sundasalangidae (2018)

Sundasalangidae (2018)

This recently discovered family of fish from Indonesia’s Maluku Islands offers significant insights into marine biodiversity, underscoring the importance of marine conservation in preserving the wealth of life beneath the waves.

10. Epimeria Quasimodo (2018)

Sundasalangidae (2018)

The Epimeria Quasimodo, a newly identified amphipod in the Southern Ocean, is named for its unusual humped back. This discovery contributes to our understanding of polar biodiversity and the impact of polar climates on species adaptation and evolution.

The last decade has brought a parade of remarkable new species into the scientific spotlight, each enriching our understanding of Earth’s incredible biodiversity. These newly discovered animals, from the ancient seas of Norway to the tropical forests of Southeast Asia, emphasize the countless, untold wonders that our planet holds, accentuating the crucial need for continued exploration and staunch conservation efforts to protect these irreplaceable marvels for future generations.

We’ve reached the end of our Top 10 countdown, and we’d love to hear from you! Do you agree with our choices, or is there something we missed that you feel deserves a spot on this list? Let’s start a conversation – comment below with your thoughts and ideas. Your input might just influence our next Top 10!

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