10 Astonishing New Species Discovered in 2012

Amanda Wills
10 Astonishing New Species Discovered in 2012
1. The Insect Hiding in Flickr

1. The Insect Hiding in Flickr

We all know Flickr houses a treasure trove of beautiful images. But this year, we discovered it's also nature's attic-box of undiscovered lifeforms. Wildlife photographer Hock Ping Guek posted a picture of a fly with patches of color on its wings. Turns out, that fly was actually a never-before-seen species of lacewing. A couple months later, entomologist Shaun Winterton spotted the picture online, identifying it as an entirely new species, which was named Semachrysa jade. The findings were published in the journal ZooKeys. Both Guek and Winterton received credit for the discovery. Image via OrionMystery.Blogspot.com

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Earth is a big place. Even with our billion-dollar satellites and high-tech monitoring equipment, we are still discovering new species on land and at sea.

On average, scientists identify 36 new mammals every year. And the ocean is an even more mysterious place. Two-thirds of marine species remain unknown — a huge number, considering between 700,000 and one million species live in oceans.

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In 2012, we met some new species currently sharing the Earth with us — a gorgeous blue tarantula and a sneezing monkey, to name a couple. And we discovered some of our new friends in innovative ways, through Flickr photos, for example (we're looking at you, Semachrysa jade).

SEE ALSO: 10 Amazing Robots We Met in 2012

This year we also met species from our past, filling in some of the mysterious historical gaps from more than 200 million years ago (hello, mini dino). But even though these ancient creatures roamed an Earth without humans, we gave them names that pay homage to modern-day characters -- one after a certain Middle-earth villain; another from a pants-wearing spongeman living under the sea.

While these 10 new species weren't the only ones discovered in 2012, they come with the best background stories of the year. Which one is your favorite? Tell us in the comments below.

This story originally published on Mashable here.