Have you ever heard of anyone coming back alive from the dead. No, right? But it can be said of some of the animal and bird species that have now been rediscovered after centuries. Here’s a list of species that had gone missing for hundreds and thousands of years but were spotted in 2022. Take a look.
1) Butterfly Species ‘Xerces Blue’ Found, Had Gone Extinct 80 Years Ago
In January 2022, two entomologists in Madhya Pradesh spotted Xerces blue species of butterfly (Glaucopsuche xerces). According to reports, this species of butterfly went extinct about 80 years ago in 1941.
The report added that Shradhha Khapre and Dr Arjun Shukla from the Government MH College of Home Science & Science for Women came across a Xerces blue butterfly near Bargi Dam.
Once the butterflies were spotted at multiple locations, they were carefully collected and then preserved. The specimens of the butterflies were then compared with the pictures of the butterfly specimens preserved at the Florida Museum of Natural History.
2) 42,000 Year-Old Giant Fossil Of Ancient Kangaroo Species Found
In July 2022, a 42,000-year-old giant fossil of the extinct ancestor of the present-day Australian kangaroos was discovered by palaeontologists in the mountains of central Papua New Guinea.
As reported first by The Independent, the last species in the genus was a cousin of modern-day eastern grey and red kangaroos in Australia, according to researchers from Flinders University.
However, instead of being closely related to the current-generation descendent, it belonged to a unique genus of more primitive kangaroo species only found in Papua New Guinea.
The new animal has been renamed ‘Nombe nombe’ after its place of discovery — Nombe Rockshelter, an archaeological and palaeontological site in papua New Guinea’s Chimbu province.
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3) Black-naped Pheasant-pigeon Found After 140 Years
After 140 years, researchers found a rare bird called the black-naped pheasant-pigeon, a reclusive species native to the steep forested slopes of Papua New Guinea’s Fergusson Island, according to Live Science.
For more than a century, the species was thought to be lost, and possibly extinct until a survey team of indigenous Papa New Guinean and US researchers heard rumours from locals about a rare ground-dwelling bird “auwo”.
In September 2022, after multiple delays caused by COVID-19, the team finally made it there. And this time, they found what they were looking for — eventually.
4) Golden Shieldtail Spotted After A Gap Of 142 Years
In Kerala, a team of researchers from different organisations rediscovered a rare snake with the help of state’s forest department in Wayanad, as per a TOI report. The Golden Shieldtail was sighted in October 2022 after a gap of 142 years in the region.
This species was first discovered by Colonel Richard Henry Beddome in 1880 and has an olive-yellow iridescent coloration on its body, with bright yellow and black iridescent markings on the belly.
5) Harlequin Frog Found After 42 Years
Across Central and South America, one group of bejeweled frogs is making a comeback.
Harlequin frogs — a genus with over 100 brightly colored species — were one of the groups of amphibians hit hardest by a skin-eating chytrid fungus that rapidly spread around the globe in the 1980s.
The group is so susceptible to the disease that with the added pressures of climate change and habitat loss, around 70 percent of known harlequin frog species are now listed as extinct or critically engendered.
For years, people searched for traces of the frogs. Scientists ran extensive surveys, and pastors offered rewards to their congregants for anyone that could find one.
This black and orange frog was once so widespread in the Ecuadorian Andes that its common name comes from the word ”jampatu,” which means “frog” in Kichwa, the Indigenous language of the area.
But, the good news is it has now been found in November 2022, as per Science News.
6) White-bellied Whipbird Found After 40 Years
An endangered bird has been rediscovered in north-west Victorian wilderness 40 years after it was presumed extinct in the state.
La Trobe University researchers and community volunteers found a white-bellied whipbird in the Mallee’s Big Desert Wilderness Park near Nhill, Australia on November 12, 2020.
Lead researcher Simon Verdon said the team realised they had rediscovered the elusive animal when a volunteer returned to camp at the end of an 81-day field rare bird species survey.
Disability support worker Lachy Wild, 24, from Bendigo recorded the bird during his two-week stint in the Parks Victoria-managed desert scrub.
The white-bellied whipbird is mostly dark olive-brown, other than its white throat and belly.
It exists mainly in low foliage and on the ground.
Verdon said the bird’s cartwheeling cry was unmistakeable.
7) Clam Presumed Extinct For 40,000 Years Found Alive
Known as Cymatioa cooki, the clam had only ever been found as a fossil, and scientists presumed that the species had been extinct for more than 40,000 years. Then, while scouring tide pools for sea slugs off the coast of California in 2018, marine ecologist Jeff Goddard spotted something unfamiliar: a white, translucent bivalve roughly 11 millimeters in length.
Not wanting to disrupt the clam, Goddard, of the University of California, Santa Barbara, photographed it and shared the images with a colleague.
Then, the pair finally captured a live specimen in 2019 and brought it back to the museum to compare with known species from the fossil record. It bore a striking resemblance to a fossil bivalve first described in the 1930s by paleontologist George Willett. It was then declared found in November 2022.
Researchers still don’t know how the bivalve evaded science for so long.
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