Tuesday, March 29, 2011

HOW much to catalog species?

Two researchers at the Universidad de Sao Paulo in Brazil have produced an estimate of how much it will cost to find and classify every one of the estimated 5.4 million species still uncatalogued. The number: $263B, including the cost to train more taxonomists. (Despite my interest in living things, I can't help thinking people who spend their time trying to differentiate all those near-identical tropical beetles have the most mind-numbing job on the planet. I salute their perseverance).

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