Museum collections are repositories of specimens and data, including specimens, tissue samples and vocal recordings.
from Wikimedia Commons
Taxonomists are becoming as rare as some of the species they work on, and this puts museum collections and conservation efforts under threat and increases the risk of biosecurity incursions.
Most animal groups adopted their shapes quickly but some kept evolving.
One of the four newly discovered titi monkeys from Southern Amazon, Brazil.
Diogo Afonso Silva
How can there be boom in new species discoveries while others are dying out at unprecedented rates?
The iconic hump-backed mahseer.
India's hump-backed mahseer is one of the world's most prized game fish, yet it was a scientific enigma.
Berzelia stokoei, one of the 3% of plants in South Africa that are found nowhere else in the world.
There is good news for plant conservation in South Africa and internationally.
Attenborougharion rubicundus is one of more than a dozen species named after the legendary naturalist Sir David Attenborough.
Simon Grove/Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
Scientists have been naming species after well-known people since the 18th century, often in a bid for publicity. But the issue deserves attention – 400,000 Australian species are yet to be described.
Ulysses butterflies (
Papilio ulysses) in CSIRO’s Australian National Insect Collection, Canberra.
Australian taxonomy resources number around 70 million specimens, valued at over AU$5 billion. That's big science.
Specimens in herbaria include “pickled” plants in pots (shown here), dried specimens and fruits or seeds preserved whole.
Ainsley Calladine, State Herbarium of South Australia
Australia's herbaria are a priceless repository, holding around 8 million samples that map historical and current distributions of native and introduced plant species in Australia.
The latest research dismisses the idea that viruses form a fourth type of life.
© Trustees of the Natural History Museum
The way humans see and engage with the natural world is anything but natural.
Four organisms that show nature isn't so easily categorised.
A wax figure of Charles Darwin, whose theories about species have influenced science for centuries.
Jose Manuel Ribeiro/Reuters
Humans have an innate interest and ability in naming biologically meaningful entities, or species. Taxonomy, then, vies for the title of world's “oldest profession”.
The endangered ‘fishing cat’ is known to scientists as
Prionailurus viverrinus, but is Felis viverrinus in Chinese wildlife law.
Gemma Simpson / shutterstock
Many scientific names have changed since China's 'protected species list' was last updated in 1989.
Catch them all - and maybe spare a thought for the trees.
You might worry that people care more about what's on their smartphone than what's in their local wildlife park. But what if we could get them to care about both at the same time?
Scientific evidence shows overwhelmingly that people across the world are genetic refugees from Africa.
Despite science refuting the existence of different human races, people have used "race" throughout history to divide and denigrate certain people while promoting their claims of superiority.
New forms of life are discovered in high-tech ways that leave yesterday’s natural history collections in the dust.
Detective image via www.shutterstock.com.
Forget the pith helmet and butterfly net. Discovering biodiversity now is much more about metagenomics and the 0's and 1's of digital databases.
Plants mentioned in ancient Chinese books helped inspire the latest Nobel Prize for Medicine winner, but testing old remedies isn't as simple as following the recipe.
What do collections of dead butterflies do for their still-living counterparts?
Andrew D Warren
The dead animal specimens that comprise natural history collections contribute a lot toward scientific understanding of their still-living counterparts – and those that have gone extinct.
Is it a … or a ….? Dengrogramma enigmatica, discovered in deep water off the coast of Victoria, doesn’t quite fit in anywhere in the animal family tree.
The top 10 new species for 2015 include a crop-circling fish, a murderous wasp, and an animal that's got scientists confounded.
Tractors may have revolutionised farming but to protect biosecurity, farmers could do with some extra help.
New technology to tackle biosecurity challenges down the track is one of the five megatrends identified in today’s CSIRO report Australia’s Biosecurity Future: preparing for future biological challenges…