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January 17, 2006

27 new species in California

It seems to be cave day. Just this morning, PZ posted a story on the Ozark big-eared bat, a subspecies of the Townsend's big-eared bat. That sent me off into fond reminiscences of Lava Beds National Monument, one of my favorite places on the planet, which hosts a relatively healthy Townsend's population.

And now comes some news from Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks. This is just so cool:

In the caves of Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks, researchers have found 27 species... that had never been seen before. .. 'We thought we might find a handful of new species,' said Joel Despain, cave specialist for the parks. 'It was amazing to find 27.'

Most caves are literally terra incognita for biologists, and there are almost certainly other undiscovered species lurking in the west. I'll be scouring the news tomorrow for more, and maybe if I feel like it I'll write about an adventure I had in Lava Beds about ten years ago. (Short version: the cardinal rules for exploring caves are don't go alone, always carry a spare flashlight, tell someone on the outside where you're going, and wear a hard hat. The metacardinal rule: do not break all four cardinal rules at once.)

UPDATE: The Los Angeles Times has a little bit more information.

Posted by Chris Clarke at January 17, 2006 10:51 PM TrackBack URL for this entry:

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Refreshing to know there are some new things being found on the planet.

Posted by: Matt at January 17, 2006 11:42 PM
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Bats are cool. Finding previously undiscovered species in caves is very cool. Getting bonked on the head in a cave in the dark when no one knows you're there is not quite so cool. Can't wait to read the whole story.

Posted by: Charles at January 18, 2006 07:18 AM
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all four rules at once. a homer! that works as a baseball reference and a simpsons joke. doh!

Posted by: dread pirate roberts at January 18, 2006 08:55 AM
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Oh, that fourth rule. I broke it once, when we were exploring some of the caves in the Oregon Cascades -- what a mistake. No serious damage was done, but I spent the entire time bleeding copiously from one of those annoying scalp wounds that just won't stop leaking. It kind of took the thrill out of it all.

Posted by: PZ Myers at January 18, 2006 09:13 AM
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Cardinal Rule 5: Don't steal precious.

Posted by: Auguste at January 18, 2006 01:05 PM
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27 new species of BAT??

Wow. Intense. Those guys must have been reeling.

Though not as much as you after your cabezazo, I think...

Posted by: Pica at January 18, 2006 03:39 PM
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No, sorry for the lack of clarity. 27 new species of arthropod, mainly.

Posted by: Chris Clarke at January 18, 2006 03:42 PM
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I can't believe I can't find your email address, but I thought you'd like to see this:

Posted by: Lauren at January 19, 2006 05:56 AM
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