Author Topic: Suddenly, there are fewer species  (Read 942 times)

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Offline Graybeard

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Suddenly, there are fewer species
« on: January 25, 2013, 08:38:17 AM »
Animal kingdom is smaller than we thought (but that’s good news)

How many species are there?

It was a question that fascinated Charles Darwin, and generations of biologists who followed him, with recent estimates ranging from a few million to as many as 100 million – now scientists believe the true number of animals and plants is nearer to 5 million[1]

The incredible diversity of life on Earth and the sheer scale of the taxonomic problem have mesmerised biologists trying to figure out the total number of living species. But a group of biologists believes the actual number is considerably smaller than previously estimated. A significantly lower estimate for the total number of animals and plants on the Earth today has important implications for estimating how many species are going extinct, as well as the success of attempts to conserve wildlife, the scientists said.

They also believe that because there are only about 5 million species, rather than there being 10 or 20 times this number, there is a realistic prospect of being able to identify and catalogue most of these organisms by the end of the century, which would defy predictions that a majority of species could go extinct without us ever knowing about them.


Scientists are currently identifying about 17,000 to 18,000 new species a year. At this rate, most species will be classified by 2040 if there are about 2 million species in total, and by the year 2240 if the total is nearer the 5 million mark.

Previously, scientists have estimated that about 5 per cent of the total number of species is going extinct each decade, which would mean more than half would die out within 150 years. However, Professor Stork and his colleagues believe the true extinction rate is nearer to 1 per cent per decade – which means the rate of species description should outpace the rate of extinction.
 1. species of Eukaryotic, i.e., not including bacteria and their relatives
In fact, rather than Darwin, it was the Swede, Carl Linnaeus, who is widely credited with being the father of taxonomy. His work, good and bad in parts, has been largely superseded by the ability to analyse DNA and thus a more accurate recognition of species.

Who would have thought that the hyrax (Leviticus 11:5) is related to the elephant (Job:40:15)?
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Suddenly, there are fewer species
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2013, 04:58:29 PM »
So, what's a raccoon? What's a hyena? And don't even get me started on the duck-billed platypus or the star-nosed mole. Sheesh.

Actually I just saw two chubby little raccoons waddling along someone's back yard. And a wild bunny. It made my day. We have not killed off everything.

When all of Cinderella's finery changed back at midnight, why didn't the shoes disappear? What's up with that?

Offline Nick

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Re: Suddenly, there are fewer species
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2013, 05:52:55 PM »
They have been looking for Bigfoot for years without any success, so he/she/it may be one that disappeared.
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Offline Nam

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Re: Suddenly, there are fewer species
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2013, 10:30:11 PM »
All I know is: I still exist. That's all I need to know. :P in saying that: I wonder how many sea creatures have yet to be discovered? Or, perhaps animals able to survive in the recesses of the earth that no one's been to yet?

"presumptions are the bitch of all assumptions" -- me