The species that go extinct before we even know they exist

A team of researchers from China, Brunei and Australia have warned that newly discovered and unknown animal species may be at a higher risk of extinction than their more well-known, charismatic counterparts.

The study, led by Jiajia Liu of Fudan University, China, is the first of its kind to explore how a more recent discovery date impacts extinction rates. It suggests we may be vastly underestimating the already staggering rates of biodiversity loss happening around the globe.

“There’s been lots of recent discussions about extinction rates, but there’s a whole lot of undescribed biodiversity out there,” notes study co-author David Lindenmayer, a forest ecologist from the Australian National University (ANU).

“Once you start looking into the description and discovery of new species, it turns out that they are the ones most at risk of extinction.”

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