June 16, 2011
Spongiforma squarepantsii was discovered in 2010 in the Lambir Hills in Sarawak, Malaysia, on the island of Borneo. It is bright orange and smells "vaguely fruity or strongly musty," according to San Francisco State University researcher Dennis Desjardin who, together with colleagues, describes the species in the journal Mycologia.
The species is unusual for more than its name however — there is only one other species in the Spongiforma genus. But that species differs in color and odor.
Both species however lack the cap and stem style typically associated with mushrooms.
Spongiforma squarepantsii is found in the forests of Borneo. Credit: Tom Bruns, U.C. Berkeley
Desjardin says there remain many more fungi species to be discovered.
"Most of these are very cryptic, molds and little things, most of them are not mushrooms," he said.
"We go to underexplored forests around the world, and we spend months at a time collecting all the mushrooms and focusing on various groups. And when we do that type of work, on average, anywhere from 25 percent to 30 percent of the species are new to science."
The saola: rushing to save the most 'spectacular zoological discovery' of the 20th Century
(04/04/2011) The saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) may be the most enigmatic, beautiful, and endangered big mammal in the world—that no one has ever heard of. The shy ungulate looks like an African antelope—perhaps inhabiting the wide deserts of the Sahara—but instead it lives in the dense jungles of Vietnam and Laos, and is more related to wild cattle than Africa's antelopes. The saola is so unusual that is has been given its own genus: Pseudoryx, due to its superficial similarities to Africa's oryx. In the company of humans this quiet forest dweller acts calm and tame, but has yet to survive captivity long. Yet strangest of all, the 200 pound (90 kilogram) animal remained wholly unknown to science until 1992.
New species of zombie-creating fungi discovered
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Updating the top 100 weirdest and most imperiled mammals
(01/24/2011) A lot can change in three years. In January 2007, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) jumpstarted a program unique in the conservation world: EDGE, which stands for Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered, selects the species it works with not based on popularity or fund-raising potential but on how endangered and evolutionary unique (in laymen's terms: weird) they are. When EDGE first arrived in 2007, it made news with its announcement of the world's top 100 most unique and endangered mammals. While this list included a number of well-known species—such as the blue whale and the Asian elephant—it also introduced the public to many little-recognized mammals that share our planet, such as the adorable long-eared jerboa, the ancient poisonous solenodon, and the ET-like aye-aye. However, after three years the EDGE program found that their top 100 mammals list already need updating.
World's weirdest aphrodisiac: elephant-digested durian fruit
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Beyond bizarre: strange hairy antelope photographed in Kenya
(08/19/2010) Is it a hairy goat roaming the plains? An antelope with some genetic mix-up? At this point no one knows. This strange creature was photographed in Kenya's Masai Mara National Reserve. Apart of the Serengeti plains, the Masai Mara covers 1,500 square kilometers and is home to a wide-range of iconic African savannah species, from elephants to lions and giraffes to hippos.The photos were first published on conservation organization WildlifeDirect's website.
Photos: Gelatinous Blobfish in danger
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Scientists discover that bats practice oral sex
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Photo: Mystery 'alien-beast' in Panama is likely a sloth
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Chupacabra story is a hoax; likely a Xolo dog breed (Nov 1, 2007)
An alleged chupacabra carcass found in Texas is likely a hoax to sell T-shirts say dog experts. The animal, described in an Associated Press report last week as "a cross between two or three different things", was found as road kill last month near the Texas town of Cuero. The woman who discovered the carcass has been using it to market chupacabra T-shirts. In lively Internet discussions dog breeders say the carcass appears to be that of a Xoloitzcuintle or Xolo, otherwise known as a Mexican Hairless dog, rather than the blood-sucking creature of legend.
Frogs species discovered living in elephant dung
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Birds can dance, proving humans aren't the only ones with rhythm
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Massive freshwater stingray takes 13 men to pull it ashore in Thailand
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Rediscovery of the solenodon, a rare venomous mammal, in Haiti
(01/09/2009) In the journal Oryx researchers from EDGE, a program of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), have announced the rediscovery of a small population of Hispaniolan solenodons in Haiti. At the same time scientists in the Dominican Republic have taken the first ever footage of this endangered mammal.
World's only blue lizard heads toward extinction
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In search of Bigfoot, scientists may uncover unknown biodiversity in Malaysia
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Sex vs. Intelligence: Bigger balls mean smaller brain
(12/13/2005) In a recent study of bats, Scott Pitnick, professor of biology at Syracuse University, found that testis size is negatively correlated with brain size. In other words, the bigger the balls of a bat species, the smaller its brain.