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Patterns and trends in the discovery of new Neotropical mammals

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Abstract

. Each year new mammalian taxa are described from the Neotropics but, contrary to conventional wisdom, these are not solely rats and bats. Since the publication of the last world checklist in 1992, new species and genera have been described from six orders (Didelphimorphia, Paucituberculata, Insectivora, Chiroptera, Primates and Rodentia) and from all South American countries except Guyana, Bolivia and Paraguay. Names and bibliographic references are listed for seven new genera and 57 new species of Neotropical mammals, representing an average of one new genus and eight new species annually. Each year, systematists revalidate an even greater number of names that were previously thought to constitute taxonomic synonyms. Consequently, estimates of mammalian diversity remain imprecise, especially in the tropics, and the pace of new descriptions outstrips even the most recent checklists.
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Keywords: Biodiversity; Neotropics; new species; species descriptions; taxonomy

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2000-05-01

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