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 July 31, 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 July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
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