Instagram might seem like an app only meant for influencers, celebrities, and companies to sell you products, but a post on the app in June of 2020 has led to the scientific discovery of a new species of snake.
Virendar K. Bhardwaj, a master student in Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar, India, was taking photos of wildlife he found in his backyard during the COVID-19 lockdown in June of 2020. His picture of a Kukri snake caught the attention of a biologist.
Check out the photo below.
Biologist Zeeshan A. Mirza noticed that the snake in the picture looked similar to the known species of Common Kukri snakes, but had some different characteristics.
Two of the snakes were eventually found in the area. After a delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the snake’s DNA was tested. The researchers came to the conclusion that the snakes were of different species entirely than the Common Kukri.
This species was previously unknown to science.
It’s pretty remarkable that a simple Instagram post could lead to the scientific discovery of a new species. Biologist Zeehan A. Mirza had this to say about the discovery:
From Phys.org: “What’s even more interesting is that the exploration of your own backyard may yield still undocumented species. Lately, people have been eager to travel to remote biodiversity hotspots to find new or rare species, but if one looks in their own backyard, they may end up finding a new species right there.”
“Compared to other biodiversity hotspots, the Western Himalayas are still poorly explored, especially in terms of herpetological diversity, but they harbor unique reptile species that we have only started to unravel in the last couple of years,”
Go take a walk through your backyard. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be the next Instagrammer to discover a new species lurking in the brush.