Pangolins, which look like anteaters, are often hunted and sold illegally for their meat and scales, believed by some to have special healing properties. Right now, there are eight types of pangolins, and they are equally spread across Asia and Africa.

Recently, scientists studied confiscated scales from Hong Kong and China’s Yunnan province between 2012 and 2019. This in-depth research led them to discover genetic signs that had never been seen in any known pangolin before. This surprising revelation introduced a ninth species, named Manis mysteria. Jing-Yan Hu, one of the researchers, called this discovery unexpected. They examined 33 scale samples from different seizures. Each had its own special features, with five scales attached to skin, three to claws, and the rest coming from various parts of the pangolin. This finding changes what we know about pangolins and how they evolved. It helps conservationists know where to focus their efforts. Dr. Aryn Wilder, an expert in conservation genetics, praised this discovery as very important. She said it allows for specific plans to protect this new species and prevent it from disappearing. Wilder stressed the urgency of tailored conservation strategies to make sure Manis mysteria survives and its special diversity is preserved.