Discovering a species new to science is not an easy task. It takes the dedication of many scientists travelling to very remote areas for extended periods of time. Once the initial species finding has been made, which in itself can be difficult, it has to then undergo exhaustive review, analysis and consultation to be confirmed as new to science, before being given a scientific name. Once this happens it becomes officially recognized by the scientific community.
VIDEO: Watch videos showing what life is like in the camp on Rapid Assessment expeditions
During RAP or another typical species survey, scientists spend three-to-four weeks deep in remote forests, river systems, coral reefs or other wild places, looking for species.
There are good reasons why so many species have remained undiscovered for so long – they are really good at hiding. Thus, researchers looking for species new to science often must employ a wide variety of sophisticated techniques.
It isn’t easy to determine whether or not a species is different from those already described and named. Imagine the expertise to differentiate among species from large taxonomic groups like birds and ants.
Once confirmed as new to science, a species has to be formally described and assigned a scientific name.