Sunday, July 27, 2008

Scale of all thngs living pic! EvoPhylo: Species numbers

am alerted to this 'scale of things' pic about biodiversity by a post by Dave Lunt at the link below.
I just love funny biologists that have lines like
"In case you're wondering where the mammals are, we're represented by the reindeer cowering underneath the mushroom." in their blog posts!
"Christopher Taylor at the excellent Catalogue of Organisms has a thought provoking post on the taxonomic diversity of described species. He has a picture of animal groups, plants and fungi scaled by number of described species. I like these sorts of pictures; they are great for shocking undergraduates who have never really thought about the diversity of life in a quantitative way before. But.... I am very skeptical indeed that described species numbers are even a reasonable approximation of actual numbers. Christopher mentions the "true diversity of organisms". I am taking this a bit out of context, and he certainly mentions that this refers only to described species some of which will increase in future, but it reminded me of other summaries of life that I have seen and that in general biologists don't critique enough our taxonomic sampling when describing biodiversity."


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