The startling discovery occurred on 18 October 1986. At the pumping test of the Dobličica spring, four wriggling animals of unknown origin were spotted in the emptied river basin by employees of the ZRC SAZU Karst Research Institute and the Geological Survey. They managed to catch and take a closer look at one of the animals. Back then, the karstologist Andrej Mihevc already correctly estimated that they might be dealing with a new olm species.
For a couple of years, they could not explain the lineage of this sole specimen from the Dobličica. Only when it was also found in the spring at Jelševnik in 1990 were biologists Boris Sket and Jan W. Arntzen finally able to scientifically describe the black olm in 1994. The black olm was given the scientific name of Proteus anguinus parkelj.