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Taxonomy

Analysis and Comment (10)

Sorry guys, if you are smaller than 1 mm, you can’t be a species. Sorry guys, if you are smaller than 1 mm, you can’t be a species. Microbe World

How small is too small to qualify as a species?

Despite their small size, organisms smaller than thousandth of a metre (1 mm) contribute greatly to biodiversity and ecosystem function. Unfortunately, categorising small organisms, even defining those…
The lack of biological information about some species may be keeping them off the IUCN critically endangered list. The lack of biological information about some species may be keeping them off the IUCN critically endangered list. Mariana Campbell

Protecting endangered species we don’t know much about

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) uses set criteria to define species extinction risk. At the pointy end of the wedge, species are classed as Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable. Overall…
Isolated and remote, the Kimberley could be home to untold numbers of new and endemic insects. Isolated and remote, the Kimberley could be home to untold numbers of new and endemic insects. Bruce Webber

Two million species and counting: completing the catalogue of life

We have just returned from a month collecting insects in the National Heritage-listed Kimberley region of Western Australia. Together with the Wunambal Gaambera and Dambimangari Aboriginal Corporations…
There are roughly 5 million species on earth. Most are insects. There are roughly 5 million species on earth. Most are insects. Roger Smith

We can name all of Earth’s species, but we may have to hurry

There has been enormous uncertainty amongst the scientific community on just how many species there are on Earth and how rapidly we are losing them through extinction. Given that taxonomists have described…
Taxonomists are in the business of classifying the life we see around us – plant, animal and otherwise. Taxonomists are in the business of classifying the life we see around us – plant, animal and otherwise. Gnilenkov Aleksey

Explainer: what is biological classification?

For taxonomists, days often start – and sometimes end – with the question: what’s that? Whether you’re an entomologist, staring at a new species of riffle bug from a rainforest stream, or a paleontologist…
DNA barcoding uses a few standard genes to provide a sure-fire genetic species identification method. DNA barcoding uses a few standard genes to provide a sure-fire genetic species identification method. Conor Lawless

Genetically linked, a continent apart: the rise of DNA barcoding

We’ve written previously on The Conversation about how taxonomy – the science of describing and naming species – can be quite a subjective science. But taxonomists can broadly be split into two camps…
The Red Deer Cave people and humans could be part of different evolutionary lines. The Red Deer Cave people and humans could be part of different evolutionary lines. Peter Schouten

Defining ‘human’ – new fossils provide more questions than answers

The origin of the human species remains one of the most fascinating and difficult topics of modern science. One of the main reasons for this is a continuing lack of agreement about how we should define…
It’s time for a change in the way we categorise life on Earth. It’s time for a change in the way we categorise life on Earth. ஆ ன ந் த ம் / a n a n d h a m

DNA barcoding: a better way to discover species

It might surprise you to learn that the idea of a “species” is one of the more ambiguous concepts in science. Originally, “species” (meaning “kind” or “sort” in Latin) was used to refer to organisms that…
What’s in a name? A whole lot of booty, and some Latin, as it happens. What’s in a name? A whole lot of booty, and some Latin, as it happens. asterix611

Beyoncé is a fly … but why?

Late last week CSIRO announced that a new species of horse fly had been named after pop diva Beyoncé’s bottom. The story generated a real buzz across traditional and social media both in Australia and…
Estimates on the possible number of species vary wildly. Estimates on the possible number of species vary wildly. Holger Hollerman/AFP

8.7 million species now estimated on Earth (and then some)

An estimated 8.7 million species exist on Earth, according to a paper published today in PLoS Biology. The figure is based on a new validated analytical technique that, it’s said, significantly narrows…

Research and News (1)

New dolphin species discovered

Australian researchers have discovered that a dolphin found in Victoria is its own separate species, distinct from all other…