How much would it cost to identify every animal on earth?

There are about 5.5 million animals on earth. Researchers have identified 1.4 million animal species so far—and millions remain to be discovered, named, and scientifically described. So how much would it actually cost to identify every animal on Earth? A pair of Brazilian scientists has crunched the numbers and come up with an answer: $263 billion.

But even $263 billion would be a small price to pay to understand the creatures that enable such essentials as agriculture, fisheries, new drugs, and energy sources. Most biologists agree that with extinction rates soaring and climate change looming, the effort to document the planet’s biodiversity—or biota—is urgent, especially considering the essential role these life forms play in crop pollination, clean air, and other aspects of human well-being. Read more here.


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