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  B. The World's Smallest, Lightest Vertebrate is Identified

Narrator: This is Science Today. Scientists at the University of California, San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography, have identified the world's smallest, lightest animal with a backbone. H.J. Walker, a senior museum scientist, says the rare ‘stout infantfish' is no longer than the width of a pencil.

Walker: The female is the largest specimen – it's only about a third of an inch long and the male is actually the smallest one about a four of an inch. It's so tiny that we weighed one and 500 thousand of them make a pound.

Narrator: Walker says the discovery of small and large extremes tell us that we don't really know as much about the planet's biodiversity as we should.

Walker: If we are still discovering things that are the most in any category – even the heaviest maybe or in this case it's also the lightest vertebrate. It goes to show us that there are a lot of other things out there to discover. And there are so many things going on right now as far as discovering new species there's hardly enough time for all of us to do it.

Narrator: The first stout infantfish was actually found in 1979, but it wasn't until recently that researchers were able to take a first detailed look at the specimen. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.