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Friday Eco-fact: Scientists Name Over 100 New Australian Species

Just how great is Australia’s biodiversity?  Well scientists have named over 100 new Australian species by just going through the specimens they have lying around their archives:

The newly named maugean skate may go extinct before scientists have a chance to fully document it.

The skate–a type of ray–is among 113 new species of Australian sharks and rays discovered during a study of museum specimens, scientists at the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organization (CSIRO) announced this week.

The 18-month-long project used modern DNA techniques on creatures that had previously been only casually named. Many still lack an official moniker.

A living relic, the maugean skate has roamed the waters near southwestern Tasmania–an Australian island state–for hundreds of millions of years.

Yet overfishing and a tiny habitat of just three estuaries has already given it endangered status on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species. [National Geographic]

Just think this discovery is on top of the recent discovery of new species on the Great Barrier Reef.