Planet Earth is home to 8.7 million species


An astonishing 86% of all plants and animals on land and 91% of those in the seas have yet to be named and catalogued, a new study claims.

The authors drew on the taxonomy, or categorisation system, devised by Carl Linnaeus about 250 years ago to arrive at their estimate of 8.7 million – give or take 1.3 million.

The Swedish biologist devised a hierarchical, tree-like structure where each individual species was classed in a series of progressively larger groups, culminating at the kingdom level.

But there are suggestions within some sections of the scientific community that it’s time to rethink the Linnaean system, even extending as far as our own species, Homo sapiens.


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