8.7 million species on Earth

Fancy discovering a new species? It shouldn’t be too difficult, as the best estimate yet of how many species the planet supports comes up at 8.74 million. Although about a quarter of those are in the sea, some 7.5 million species remain to be discovered.

Previous estimates were around 5.5 million, but the new number means scientists have cataloged less than 15 percent of species now alive—and current extinction rates mean many unknown organisms will wink out of existence before they can be recorded.

The study was driven by a simple question: “Are we within reach of finding all species, or are we way off?”.

“The answer is, we are way off!” Learn more here or here.

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