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Hank shares losses and finds this week, including a huge amount of Antarctic ice that’s lost for good, and 10 cool new species that are last year’s top finds.

Hosted by: Hank Green
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Sources:
www.esf.edu/top10
http://www.sciencemag.org/lookup/doi/10.1126/science.aaa5727
This week on SciShow News, we’re talking about things that have been lost, and things that have been found.
 
But you might find -- when you’re dealing with the world -- things that are lost might be lost forever. 
 
And things that have been found … well, they’re not always exactly new.
 
For example, one thing that we’re losing, and fast?
 
Ice.
 
We’ve talked many, many times before about how some of the world’s biggest ice sheets are shrinking, like those in Greenland and in West Antarctica. 
 
But this week, researchers said that they’d discovered a huge and sudden melt going on where they’d never seen it before: the Southern Antarctic Peninsula.
 
While ice sheets in other nearby parts of Antarctica have been losing mass as the climate warms, the Southern Peninsula has stayed unusually stable … at least, until 2009.
 
That’s when, according to scientists from the University of Bristol, the coastal glaciers that feed the peninsula’s ice sheet suddenly began to melt. Fast.
 
Over the last five years, they say, the glaciers there have released 300 trillion liters of water into the ocean -- that’s a 3 followed by 14 zeroes.
 
This rapid melt was originally detected by the CryoSat-2 satellite, which uses radar to measure the thickness of Earth’s polar ice. And its data showed that some of the glaciers on the Southern Peninsula were thinning by as much as 4 meters a year. 
 
The melt was then confirmed by another satellite, called GRACE, which found that the peninsula lost enough mass, in the form of ice, to actually cause a measurable change in the region’s gravitation.
 
However, researchers say that this melting doesn’t seem to be caused by the same factors we’ve seen elsewhere, like a decrease in snowfall, or a rise in air temperature. Instead, these glaciers are melting from underneath.
 
Ice shelves that surround the glaciers used to give them some protection from rising temperatures. But changes in wind patterns around Antarctica have brought warm ocean currents right up to the coast of the peninsula, and they’ve been -- as the scientists put it -- “eating away” at the ice.
 
Eventually, the ice shelves got so thin that they weren’t doing much shielding anymore, and the glaciers started to melt.
 
So, considering that Antarctica is basically hemorrhaging fresh water into the ocean as we speak, the researchers say that step one in understanding this problem is to start broadening our study of the polar ice caps beyond just the biggest and most obvious problem areas. Because, it turns out, we might be losing more ice than we knew about.
 
All right, let’s go to the “Found” department, because it’s time we welcome some new forms of life into the scientific record.
 
Every year around this time, the International Institute for Species Exploration, based out of the College of Environmental Science and Forestry in New York, celebrates the birthday of everyone’s favorite founding taxonomist, Carl Linnaeus, by announcing the 10 most important, most endangered, or just plain weirdest new species that have been discovered in the past year.
 
For example, allow me to introduce you to this Sulawesi fanged frog.
 
Yes, it is a frog with fangs -- or, more accurately, two spikes that protrude from its jaw.
 
But that’s not even the weirdest thing about it -- it’s also the only known frog that gives birth to tadpoles.
 
Most frogs lay eggs in the water, which are then fertilized externally. But a handful of frogs are known to fertilize their eggs internally -- and then lay fertilized eggs, or give birth to tiny “froglets.”
 
But this new species, named L. larvaepartus, takes the middle route, and gives birth to live, but immature, tadpoles.
 
How do we know? Well, scientists in Indonesia got a clue when a biologist picked up a specimen, and it suddenly went into frog-labor and spurted out a bunch of tadpoles into her hand.
 
Not amazing enough for you? Well then, what could’ve made this?
 
I’m not saying it’s aliens ….
 
...No, I mean I’m literally not saying it’s aliens.
 
But it did take 20 years or so for scientists to figure out who was behind these strange, perfectly symmetrical formations on the sea floor.
 
Last year, biologists in Japan figured out that they were the work of the white-spotted pufferfish.
 
Underwater photographers first identified these weird formations in the mid-1990s, and after years of scouting around Japan’s Ryukyu Islands, scientists discovered that male puffers made these ornate patterns as nests to attract mates.
 
The puffers with the most fastidious nests get the ladies, it seems, but the nests are only used once, to spawn, and then they’re abandoned. 
 
But the fancy circles aren’t just for show -- scientists determined that the male pufferfish shimmy over the sand to create its ridges and hollows, which protect the fertilized eggs from ocean currents.
 
 
And then there are the discoveries that remind us that being new to science is by no means the same thing as being quote, “discovered.”
 
Botanists came across this plant in the mountains of southern Mexico, where locals have been using it for centuries in their annual Christmas displays. But scientists had no idea that it was its own species until last year.
 
It turns out to be a type of bromeliad, a mostly-tropical plant with stiff, colorful leaves. The one that you probably most recently saw was a pineapple. But this newly-discovered species only grows on cliffs and rock faces in Mexican forests between 1800 and 2100 meters in elevation.
 
These bromeliads’ bright pink and green leaves have made them favored by locals for use in Christmas nativity scenes, so scientists gave this unusual new plant the species name “religiosa” or “religious,” in honor of how it’s been used since way before scientists knew it was a thing.
 
Thanks to scientists for discovering all kinds of great stuff, and thank you for discovering SciShow News, which is brought to you by our patrons on Patreon. If you want to help us keep making this show, you can go to patreon.com/scishow. And don’t forget to go to youtube.com/scishow and subscribe to keep seeing more.