We hear a lot about all the species we're losing in the world due to climate change, and issues such as deforestation and urbanization, among others. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, the scientists who usually spend their time trying to discover new organisms finally got a chance to document, or describe, the backlog of species that had already been discovered.
Officially describing a species involves writing a scientific paper in which the discoverers argue that a plant, animal, fungus or other organism actually is a new species rather than a subspecies of something else we already know about. The researchers have to select an individual specimen that represents all the attributes typical of that species, and they also give the species a Latin name. It's a laborious process, but in 2021, scientists at the Natural History Museum (NHM) in London took a little time to wade through and publish the data they've collected on 552 previously undescribed organisms.
Here are a few of our favorites: