Winter is such a beautiful time of year, especially when
Every once in a while, an animal is found in the unlikeliest of places. Sometimes it’s as simple as a misplaced shark corpse, but if we’re lucky, an entirely new species can be found somewhere surprising.
Antarctic fish. For the first time ever, scientists have drilled through an Antarctic ice shelf, only to discover life 2,500 feet below the surface. Fish, crustaceans and jellyfish were found with a submersible camera just last week.
The Mountain Octopus. Back in 2013, a group of volunteers for a litter clean-up project in the mountains of Cumbria, England discovered a small octopus among the garbage they were cleaning. Granted, Scafell Pike (the highest mountain in England) is only 3/5 of a mile high, but still, that’s a lot higher above sea level than you’d usually find an octopus.
Nose ticks. In 2012, a scientist named Tony Goldberg made a trip to Uganda’s Kibale National Park to study infectious diseases in the wild, and he picked up a hitchhiker. He later found a tick living in his nose, which turned out to be a previously undocumented (or possibly entirely new) species.
The Subway Shark. In the middle of Shark Week a few years back, we were all perplexed by the appearance of a dead shark on a New York subway train. Obviously not discovered in its natural habitat, it turned out that a group of kids found the shark while swimming off Coney Island, then left it by a roller coaster (naturally), where it was picked up by a man who apparently got bored (or realized he was carrying around a dead shark and started to question his life choices) and left the animal in a subway car. The next logical step was for people to start bringing in props for photo ops, right?
Belly Button Bacteria. In 2012, the Belly Button Diversity project revealed that in a study of 60 (human) belly buttons, a total of 2,368 bacteria were found, 1,458 of which “may be new to science.” But not every belly button contains the same organisms. In fact, one person “harbored a bacterium that had previously been found only in soil from Japan.” That person, by the way, had never been to Japan. Another carried “extremophile bacteria that typically thrive in ice caps and thermal vents.” Always remember, your belly button is a disgusting, unique snowflake of bacteria.
Life in space. Okay, it’s not exactly life, but last year, iso-propyl cyanide was found in a star-forming cloud 27,000 light-years from Earth. This is the closest specimen we’ve found in space to the complex organic molecules that make up life as we know it.