The mysterious Amazon River is one of the largest expanses of tropical rainforest in the world, the largest river on the South American continent, and the largest drainage system in the world. Many scientists believe it to be the oldest tropical forest area in the world, at more than 100 million years old. It is only slightly shorter than Africa’s Nile River, with its source in the Andes Mountains, and it’s mouth on the Atlantic side of the continent, in Brazil.
One in ten known species on Earth lives in the Amazon basin. From the rainforest canopy to the bottom of the river and under the surface of the ground, at least 40,000 plant species, almost 500 mammals, more than 1,200 birds, almost 400 reptiles, approximately 3,000 freshwater fish, and more than 400 amphibians have been identified in the basin. In addition, there are almost 100,000 invertebrate species that have been identified. None of these numbers are even close to the number of species actually believed to be living deep in the rainforests, still awaiting discovery. In addition to the incredibly diverse animal life, more than 80,000 species of plants are supported in the Amazon ecosystem, many of which are found nowhere else on our planet.
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