Scientists have discovered more than 400 new species in the Amazon rainforest since 2010, including a monkey that purrs like a cat, a vegetarian piranha and a flower with spaghetti-like filaments, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) announced Wednesday.
The WWF, which says its “mission is to build a future in which people live in harmony with nature,” compiled and published scientists' findings and says more discoveries are being made each week.
Besides the purring monkey and veggie-loving piranha, scientists found a lizard with a flame-like pattern from head to tail, a snake that lives at an elevation of 1,500 feet and some unique plants. In total, the WWF says 441 new species were found.
While the new discoveries are exciting, several of the never-before-seen species are already considered endangered, a reminder of the challenges facing animals in the massive rainforest habitat.
The Amazon spans across eight countries and is one of the world's most ecologically diverse regions, but the effects of deforestation and river pollution have significantly impacted the forest’s ecosystem and could have long-term implications for global climate change.