In 2010, some amateur cave explorers discovered a relatively large six-eyed, hook-legged, orangey-brown spider in a Southern Oregon cave. In 2012, the spider was named Trogloraptor marchingtoni or Trogloraptor (which means “cave robber”), and it was unique enough to be declared a new taxonomic family of spider.
That in itself is pretty interesting, but it’s also an excellent starting point for finding out how new discoveries can become documented science. In this California Academy of Sciences video, Curator of Arachnology Charles Griswold explains the behind-the-scenes “pinball machine” process of Science in Action: How Science Works.
Related reading: 189 New Species Described By Cal Academy in 2012.Related videos: A newly-discovered species of cartwheeling spider, Skull of the Olinguito, the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect, discovering a second species of giant mantas, and more from Cal Academy.