Mammal Discoveries

Mammal Discoveries

While mammal species are disappearing at an alarming rate, did you know that there are still undiscovered species of living mammals around the globe? Scientists at The Field Museum, the American Museum of Natural History, and many other organizations have found hundreds of previously unknown mammals in the last few decades.

Field Museum scientists have a saying: “We cannot protect what we do not know.” That’s why, for more than a century, our scientific staff has made it their mission to seek out and document the biological diversity of life on Earth. Knowledge about species, past environments, and evolutionary relationships is vital to understanding and conserving this diversity.

By exploring—and safeguarding—harsh deserts, remote mountaintops, and vast tropical rainforests, we’re finding new mammals every year. In the past 20 years alone, Field Museum researchers have identified 90 new living mammal species as well as 24 fossil mammal species!

To learn more about some of our scientist’s work, please visit Dr. Lawrence Heaney’s Expedition documenting small mammals in the Philippines and Dr. Bruce Patterson’s Expedition studying the maneless lions of Tsavo in Kenya. Or, feel free to tour our Collections Resource Center with our Negaunee Collections Manager, Bill Stanley.

Field Museum Extreme Researchers

© The Field Museum

Field Museum curator Bruce Patterson (center) and colleagues Carl Dick (left) and Paul Webala (right) collect bat specimens in Kenya to study their parasites, genetics, and calls.

Most insectivorous (insect-eating) bats use ultrasonic signals to locate and capture their prey. The Field Museum’s Bats of Kenya project uses bat calls to help identify bat species and document their crucial roles in nature and in preventing crop losses by eating bugs that destroy crops.