Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

"Skeletons" In The Closet: One Fifth Of Species Names May Be Invalid

Date:
November 14, 2001
Source:
University Of California - Santa Barbara
Summary:
Many species have invalid names, creating havoc for those scientists who are in the business of classifying both fossils and current living things, as well as for others who rely on this information. John Alroy, researcher at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis at the University of California, Santa Barbara, delved into the topic in his paper presented at the Geological Society of America last week in Boston. Alroy said nearly a third of all names have been thrown out.

(Santa Barbara, Calif.) – Many species have invalid names, creating havoc for those scientists who are in the business of classifying both fossils and current living things, as well as for others who rely on this information. John Alroy, researcher at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis at the University of California, Santa Barbara, delved into the topic in his paper presented at the Geological Society of America last week in Boston. Alroy said nearly a third of all names have been thrown out.

"I’m not counting the number of invalid species to date," said Alroy, "but rather I’m estimating the number of invalid species that haven’t been caught yet. About one fifth of the names currently in use are likely to prove invalid."

The situation presents current and future problems as more and more species are at risk of extinction; their correct, valid names become a critical issue. "There is a broad scientific consensus that a global mass extinction is now underway, and that this extinction eventually may rival the five most severe biodiversity crises in the history of multicellular life on Earth," said Alroy.

He explained that the number of species at risk of extinction remains uncertain because there are serious statistical barriers to estimating per-species extinction rates and also the total number of living species.

Alroy said that the total number of living species were originally published as spanning three to 30 million, and only lately have been narrowed to five to 15 million. Reasons for the uncertainty include uneven taxonomic coverage. This leads to poor knowledge of highly diverse taxonomic groups -- for example,

terrestrial arthropods (including insects, crustaceans and spiders). Additionally, classification is uneven in certain regions such as tropical forests. There is also a lack of standardized sampling schemes, and there are statistical problems with methods for extrapolating counts of diversity.

Popular species like butterflies have an even higher rate of invalid names he said. "We need another thousand years," said Alroy. "It’s a very slow process to vet the names. Some people work 40 years on this."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of California - Santa Barbara. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of California - Santa Barbara. ""Skeletons" In The Closet: One Fifth Of Species Names May Be Invalid." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 November 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/11/011114071056.htm>.
University Of California - Santa Barbara. (2001, November 14). "Skeletons" In The Closet: One Fifth Of Species Names May Be Invalid. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/11/011114071056.htm
University Of California - Santa Barbara. ""Skeletons" In The Closet: One Fifth Of Species Names May Be Invalid." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/11/011114071056.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chimp Violence Study Renews Debate On Why They Kill

Chimp Violence Study Renews Debate On Why They Kill

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) The study weighs in on a debate over whether chimps are naturally violent or become that way due to human interference in the environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins