Now this is cool, more than one-third of all the known species of life on the planet have now been cataloged … the total they have (as I write this) is 753,315. Just before we launch into the article lets clarify those numbers. It is estimated that there are probably around 8.7 million species in total. That is just a finger in the air, so it is within a couple of million either side of that. OK, just so that you understand that number, what in actually means is that an astonishing 86% of all plants and animals on land and 91% of those in the seas have yet to be named and catalogued. Ah but hang on a moment, those sums don’t add up, one-third of 8.7 million is not 753,315, so what is the story here? Easy, we only know about 1.9 species, the rest have yet to be discovered, so it now has more than one third of the known species cataloged.
The Economist has a fascinating little article all about the emergence of a new species in North America, and what is good about it is that it not only lays out the facts quite well, but also gives you a good feel for the ongoing discussion about it all. What is this new species? As … Read moreEvolution in Action: Greater than the sum of its parts