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New Animal Discoveries    by Ronald Orenstein order for
New Animal Discoveries
by Ronald Orenstein
Order:  USA  Can
Key Porter, 2002 (2001)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Beside the table of contents is a map that shows the locations around the world, from Greenland to New Guinea, in which new kinds of animals have been discovered in the last two decades. In her foreword, Jane Goodall talks about the excitement of a close encounter with a tiny, newly discovered, dwarf marmoset (a teensy monkey) and urges us to work harder to save animal habitats, so that we have a chance to discover more unknown creatures before they become extinct.

Then the author, zoologist Ronald Orenstein, introduces us to many animals new to science: lemurs in Madagascar (one which eats bamboo laced with enough cyanide to kill a human); the Mary River (big-tailed) turtle of Queensland, Australia; the dingiso (tree kangaroo) of New Guinea (described as 'a cross between a giant raccoon, an overweight monkey and a teddy bear'); saola with antelope-like horns and new kinds of barking deer in Vietnam; and many more. Some animals, such as the pig-like chaco peccary of Paraguay or a new species of coelacanth (a large fish) in Indonesia, were thought to be extinct but have been found again.

Sidebars throughout the book give extra interesting tidbits such as record-breaking discoveries; backgrounds of some discoverers; life in remote areas and why impoverished people continue to hunt endangered species; and suggestions about how we can help. The author also informs us that hundreds of new insects are discovered each year (but not covered in this book), with millions left to find, especially in tropical rainforests. He explains what a species is, the use of scientific names, the Linnaean system, and the need for a type specimen. He challenges the reader to consider the ethics of killing a specimen to preserve the species.

The author concludes by telling us that 'Discovery can make a difference', and that millions of new species are waiting to be discovered ... 'What could be more exciting than that?'

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