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Scientists Just Discovered A New Mushroom Species & Named It After Chicago

By Anthony Todd in Food on Sep 21, 2016 3:50PM

A chanterelle in the forest. Photo via Shutterstock.

With satellites, GPS, drones, Google Earth, and all the other ways that we have of seeing every inch of the world, it's easy to pretend that there's nothing left in nature to discover. Recently, researchers at the Field Museum proved that wrong (for the millionth time) by discovering a new kind of gourmet mushroom right in our own backyard.

In the most recent issue of the journal Mycologia (the discovery of which is the high point of our day), Patrick Leacock of the Field Museum, along with colleagues from the Chicago Botanic Garden and Northwestern University, announced the discovery of a new kind of Chanterelle. Apparently until the latter half of the 20th century, it was thought that all Chanterelles were alike, but with genetic mapping, scientists have now found hundreds of different varieties.

To discover the new "Cantharellus chicagoensis," researchers collected specimens for 14 years across Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. After performing a variety of tests, the new species, which is particularly common in the Cook County forest preserve, was definitively identified. So cool! The complete article is available, for a small fee, in the July/August 2016 issue of the journal.

No news yet on whether the species is particularly delicious, but if it is, you can bet you'll be seeing it on hyper-local restaurant menus any day now.