Cryptozoologist of 2009: Gabriele Gentile
by Loren Coleman, Cryptozoology A to Z
Meet Cryptomundo’s cryptozoologist of the year.
Italian researcher Gabriele Gentile holds a Galápagos iguana, a newly-verified species that may provide evidence of species divergence five million years ago, far earlier than Charles Darwin’s famous finches. It was noted when announced in January 2009 that Darwin did not visit the volcano on his travels to the Ecuadorian island chains in the 1830s, so the creature remained “undiscovered” until 1986, when it was spotted by park rangers. Only after Gentile’s painstaking field research, based on the ethnoknown sightings and confirmed via DNA testing, was this iguana recognized as its own species, formally in 2009.
During the year, this new iguana species that is pink and black was announced as found on the island of Galapagos: the rosada land iguana. The discoverer was Gabriele Gentile of the University of Rome Tor Vergata. Gentile and his colleagues said that the pink iguana is distinct from the two recognized species of land iguana on the Galápagos. They are located on the Volcan Wolf volcano on the island of Isabela, the only place where the pink iguanas live.
“What’s surprising is that a new species of megafauna, like a large lizard, may still be [found] in a well-studied archipelago,” Gentile told National Geographic News.
Cryptozoologist of 2008: Dr. Andrea Marshall, discovered a new species of giant manta ray, the world’s largest species.
Dr. Andrea Marshall is pictured above in the photo that accompanied her notice that she supports her work by conducting trips and tours related to manta research. Funding her work was critical to her discovery.
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