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11 Languages Spoken by 11 People or Fewer

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Vladimir Korostyshevskiy / Shutterstock.com

1. Ho-Chunk is the language of the Hocák Nation, more commonly known as the Winnebago tribe of Wisconsin and Nebraska. In 2004, there were only 11 living fluent speakers of Ho-Chunk, all of whom also use English.

2. In the jungles of Suriname lives a nearly extinct population of people known as Akurio. Only ten members of the group speak only Akurio; the remaining 40 or so are bilingual with a neighboring group called Trió.

3. Only nine fluent speakers of the Mullukmulluk language were found in northern Australia in 1988, the last time data was collected.

4. Of the roughly 700 members remaining in Kenya, only eight older adults still know the El Molo language – but even those rarely use it, and since the last count was conducted in 1994, it may already be extinct.

5. Tuscarora is a native language of Canada and the northern US, which can now be found in use by only seven people on the Six Nations Reserve in Ontario. At last count in 1997, there were also four native Tuscarora speakers in the United States.

6. The Njerep language of Nigeria is only known to six people on Earth – the last members of the tribe who have not shifted to speaking Mambila.

7. The Brazilian language Jabutí has almost as many names as it does speakers. Also called Djeoromitxi, Jabotí or Yabutí, the language is very nearly extinct: as few as five people may now be fluent, though as many as 30 people may be able to speak conversationally.

8. In 2000, a research group only located four speakers of Tehuelche, the language of a nomadic tribe in Chile and Argentina.

9. There are approximately three people left in Australia who speak Marti Ke exclusively. A handful of older adults are fluent, but primarily speak English, Murrinh Patha or Kriol.

10. Tinigua is interesting in that it’s not derivative of any known language, which is to say it’s a language isolate. In 2000, only two members of the Colombian population were left.

11. The Mapia Islands are sparsely populated, especially since most of the native population immigrated to Micronesia. Most Mapians now speak Palauan, Sonsorol or Tobian; a single elder is the only known speaker of Mapia.

Figures courtesy of Ethnologue.

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FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images
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Animals
Fisherman Catches Rare Blue Lobster, Donates It to Science
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FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images

Live lobsters caught off the New England coast are typically brown, olive-green, or gray—which is why one New Hampshire fisherman was stunned when he snagged a blue one in mid-July.

As The Independent reports, Greg Ward, from Rye, New Hampshire, discovered the unusual lobster while examining his catch near the New Hampshire-Maine border. Ward initially thought the pale crustacean was an albino lobster, which some experts estimate to be a one-in-100-million discovery. However, a closer inspection revealed that the lobster's hard shell was blue and cream.

"This one was not all the way white and not all the way blue," Ward told The Portsmouth Herald. "I've never seen anything like it."

While not as rare as an albino lobster, blue lobsters are still a famously elusive catch: It's said that the odds of their occurrence are an estimated one in two million, although nobody knows the exact numbers.

Instead of eating the blue lobster, Ward decided to donate it to the Seacoast Science Center in Rye. There, it will be studied and displayed in a lobster tank with other unusually colored critters, including a second blue lobster, a bright orange lobster, and a calico-spotted lobster.

[h/t The Telegraph]

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Courtesy Murdoch University
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Animals
Australian Scientists Discover First New Species of Sunfish in 125 Years
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Courtesy Murdoch University

Scientists have pinpointed a whole new species of the largest bony fish in the world, the massive sunfish, as we learned from Smithsonian magazine. It's the first new species of sunfish proposed in more than 125 years.

As the researchers report in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, the genetic differences between the newly named hoodwinker sunfish (Mola tecta) and its other sunfish brethren was confirmed by data on 27 different samples of the species collected over the course of three years. Since sunfish are so massive—the biggest can weigh as much as 5000 pounds—they pose a challenge to preserve and store, even for museums with large research collections. Lead author Marianne Nyegaard of Murdoch University in Australia traveled thousands of miles to find and collected genetic data on sunfish stranded on beaches. At one point, she was asked if she would be bringing her own crane to collect one.

Nyegaard also went back through scientific literature dating back to the 1500s, sorting through descriptions of sea monsters and mermen to see if any of the documentation sounded like observations of the hoodwinker. "We retraced the steps of early naturalists and taxonomists to understand how such a large fish could have evaded discovery all this time," she said in a press statement. "Overall, we felt science had been repeatedly tricked by this cheeky species, which is why we named it the 'hoodwinker.'"

Japanese researchers first detected genetic differences between previously known sunfish and a new, unknown species 10 years ago, and this confirms the existence of a whole different type from species like the Mola mola or Mola ramsayi.

Mola tecta looks a little different from other sunfish, with a more slender body. As it grows, it doesn't develop the protruding snout or bumps that other sunfish exhibit. Similarly to the others, though, it can reach a length of 8 feet or more. 

Based on the stomach contents of some of the specimens studied, the hoodwinker likely feeds on salps, a jellyfish-like creature that it probably chomps on (yes, sunfish have teeth) during deep dives. The species has been found near New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and southern Chile.

[h/t Smithsonian]

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