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LETTERS TO THE EDITORS

New Furry Friends

To the Editors:

The report “New Carnivore Species Found” in the November–December issue’s In the News section stated, “It is rare to hear about the discovery of a new mammal.” Actually, a fair number of new species of mammals are being discovered every year. These are mostly small mammals, such as bats, rats, mice, and shrews, but larger kinds are being discovered as well. The most recent account of the number of mammals named during a span of years, from a 2007 paper published by the Museum of Texas Tech University and authored by D. M. Reeder, K. M. Helgen, and D. E. Wilson, lists 341 new species described between July 1992 and June 2006. This gives a figure of approximately 25 new mammal species discovered each year. Among the 341 new species mentioned above, the list includes not only small mammals but also, among larger mammals, a sloth, monkeys, a carnivore, a pig, several deer, two antelopes, a porpoise, and a beaked whale. No apparent downturn in the rate of discoveries has been observed since then.

Ronald H. Pine
Lawrence, Kansas


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