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Sea Creature Thought to be Extinct Found in New Zealand.

A microscopic sea animal thought to be extinct for 4 million years has been discovered in New Zealand to be alive and well, according to researchers. The marine creature known as protulophila is a polyp with tentacles and forms colonies inside sea worms.

According to New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), the protulophila appeared in fossil records about 170 million years ago in the Middle East and Europe. The last trace of the sea creature was found on rocks that was dated 4 million years old.

It was only recently that scientists found samples of the protulophila in New Zealand which is halfway around the world from its usual habitat. The discovery led scientists to study more recent samples. They confirmed the polyp were present in the sea worms collected by NIWA last 2008 near the South Island of New Zealand, Picton.

Dennis Gordon, a NIWA marine biologist said scientists from NIWA, University of Oslo and Britain's Natural History Museum were responsible for the discovery. He believes the discovery of the "living fossil" is a rare example of how fossil knowledge has led scientists to find the organism.

Gordon said they plan to conduct more research related to corals and sea anemones and conduct gene sequencing on fresh samples.

New species found in Australia

Meanwhile, an international committee composed of scientists and researchers has released a list of newly-discovered species from different parts of the world. In a news release from the International Institute for Species Exploration at New York College of Environment Science and Forestry, the alphabetical list of nearly 18,000 new species was launched in 2008 and released every year on May 23, the birthday of Carolus Linnaeus. The Swedish botanist is considered as the father of modern taxonomy and lived in the 18th century.

One of the new animals listed is the leaf-tailed gecko found in Australia. It was discovered by scientists in a remote rainforest in the Melville Range of Eastern Australia. Measuring 4 inches long, the creature has a long, slim body with a short head and spotted skin colour which helps it hide from predators. The gecko's "leaflike" wide tail also acts as a camouflage.
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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Geographic Code:8NEWZ
Date:May 30, 2014
Words:366
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