Nature More Diverse Than We Know

So a scientist thinks that there could be 10 times as many species of plants and animals than we know.  This not only demonstrates the huge creativity of the Creator God, but it also puts the lie to all those ads by such mendacious groups as WWF and their ilk who make claims such as “70% of all animal species have died”- if we don’t even know how many there are now, how can we even guess at such a percentage?

From the ABC

Number of plant and animal species could be 10 times greater, Flinders University professor says

Posted about 2 hours ago

The number of different plant and animal species in the world may be 10 times greater than we think, according to a professor from Flinders University.

An Australian team has written to the journal, Nature, claiming the estimate of 8.7 million species could be just a fraction of the true figure.

Professor Mike Lee, an evolutionary biologist with the South Australian Museum and Flinders University, said it was a “known unknown”.

“Knowing how many different forms of life live on earth is probably one of the most fundamental questions a scientist can ask,” he said.

“Despite 300 years of taxonomy, there’s still vast disagreements and estimates range between 3 million and 100 million.”

Professor Lee said the processes to determine different species used to be quite superficial.

“What we’ve done in the main is look at animals with the naked eye, and sort them into piles, and each pile we think is a new species,” he said.

“But when we look at the piles really, really closely, using genetics, it turns out each pile isn’t really just a homogenous set of individuals.

“They might be very similar, but nonetheless subtly different species.”

Number of species in the world could be up to 90 million

He believes the real number could be closer to 90 million, and that is important for conservation efforts.

“If we thought there was only one African elephant, we might not be concerned that all the elephants in the forest were going extinct, because we might think there’s plenty of the same thing out on the savanna,” Professor Lee said.

“But of course if you know there’s two different species, and the African forest elephant is a unique and irreplaceable genetic and conservation resource, then you’d be really concerned if it’s going extinct.”

Professor Lee said it was not reassuring that there might be more species out there, because they could also be falling extinct without our knowledge.

His letter to Nature was co-written by Paul Oliver from the Australian National University.


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