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    Posted on Oct 31, 2015

    Scientists Discover New Species Of Bat That's Actually Been In Their Collection Since 1983

    It was in a jar in London's Natural History Museum all along.

    Scientists in London have discovered a whole new species of bat, just in time for Halloween.

    © The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London.

    It’s been sitting on a shelf for over 30 years.

    The Natural History Museum has a massive collection of things in jars, known as the Spirit Collection, away from the main hall.

    Hayley Campbell / BuzzFeed

    There are monkeys in jars, manta rays in tanks, and a giant squid called Archie stretches her legs down the middle of the room.

    There are over 80 million preserved specimens in this fully functioning research lab and you can see them all on a guided tour, if you’re into that.

    This newly discovered tiny bat is one of those specimens.

    © The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London.

    Turns out it's also the first member of a previously unknown species now named Francis’s Woolly Horseshoe Bat, or Rhinolophus francisi.

    The name is a hat tip to the guy who collected the bat over 30 years ago in Malaysia: Charles M. Francis.

    Since Francis’s Woolly Horseshoe Bat is tiny, and bat bones are typically very thin and fragile, scientists put it in the CT scanner to get a better idea of what it was without touching it.

    © The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London.

    “The scan of the bat skull reveals spiky, sharp-edged teeth that would work like scissors to break open the hard outer-body casings of insects,” said NHM zoologist Roberto Portela Miguez in a press release. He looks after the mammals in the Spirit Collection and co-authored the study in which the new bat was revealed, published in the journal Acta Chiropterologica.

    Researchers also discovered this bizarre-faced bat, a subspecies of Francis’s Woolly Horseshoe Bat, in the jungles of Thailand, as opposed to a jar on a shelf.

    © The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London.

    It's called Rhinolophus francisi thailandicus.

    New species of animals are being found all the time – especially insects and fish – but to find a new mammal is a rare thing.

    © The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London.

    “This is a reminder of how much we still have to discover about the natural world," Miguez said, "and how vital museum collections are to support this research.”

    What else have you got in those jars, NHM?

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