Here be dragons

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A tiny dragon was found laying eggs in a nest in the Lambusango Forest reserve in Indonesia. She may be related to the species Draco volans, a lizard which glides by spreading out folds of skin attached to movable ribs.You can see how small she is, yet apparently these dragons can glide up to 8 m (26 feet) from tree to tree. She was released immediately after this photo was taken, and hopefully returned to her nesting.

There’s a larger point here, aside from “Hey, this is incredibly cool!”: we still don’t know how many species there are in the world, although we currently estimate there are between 8 and 12 million. We’ve only put names to about 10 – 15% of these, and there seems to be a world shortage of taxonomists (people who identify species), partly because it’s not a glamorous career path and partly because governments prefer to fund more glamorous research projects with their limited science money. All of which means the job is going fairly slowly.

So the world, which is undoubtedly full of wonders that we’ve already found, may have even more wonders hidden away that we’re not yet aware of. Which means we need people to step up and take on a career in science, to help discover these wonders and help us realise how incredible our world is, and how vital it is that we save as much as we can before it’s too late.

Go on, do it for the dragons.

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