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from the depends-how-you-count dept (0)

butterflysrage (1066514) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432282)

1, 2, 3.... how do you count?

Re:from the depends-how-you-count dept (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32432324)

I count 0, 1, 2, 3 ...

Re:from the depends-how-you-count dept (3, Funny)

bragr (1612015) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432376)

I count 0, 1, 10, 11...

Re:from the depends-how-you-count dept (1)

Covalent (1001277) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432500)

I count I, II, III, IV, V...

Re:from the depends-how-you-count dept (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432514)

I count 0, 1, 10, 11...

I think a bragr won the nerd bragging contest...

Re:from the depends-how-you-count dept (3, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432560)

I count 0, 1, 11, 10, 110, 111...

My gears don't wear out as fast as yours.

Re:from the depends-how-you-count dept (1)

Kryptonian Jor-El (970056) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432928)

so you count 0,1,3,2,6,7?

Re:from the depends-how-you-count dept (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32433026)

Whooooooooosh

Re:from the depends-how-you-count dept (5, Informative)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433042)

Please turn in your geek badge at the door. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gray_code [wikipedia.org]

Re:from the depends-how-you-count dept (4, Funny)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433140)

Good thing he has 11 of them!

Re:from the depends-how-you-count dept (2)

Kryptonian Jor-El (970056) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433308)

Ya got me there. Never heard of gray code, but I see what it is now; its used for karnaugh map numbering and all. My professor always said we numbered that way to allow for easier identification if implicants, but never told us it had a name.

I stand corrected

Re:from the depends-how-you-count dept (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432576)

I count 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 11 ...

What are all other numbers but a combination of primes?

Re:from the depends-how-you-count dept (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432690)

Decimals, fractions, complex numbers..

Re:from the depends-how-you-count dept (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432772)

I would certainly like to know how we'd end up with a fraction of a species

Re:from the depends-how-you-count dept (1)

Mad-Bassist (944409) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432826)

Subspecies?

Re:from the depends-how-you-count dept (1)

welcher (850511) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432848)

But 1 is not a prime number

Re:from the depends-how-you-count dept (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433142)

If he had missed out 1, his statement would have been incorrect. He never said they were all prime, just that all other numbers were a combination of primes.

Re:from the depends-how-you-count dept (1)

Eudial (590661) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433078)

I count
1
1A
10
11
1AA
1A0 ...

Re:from the depends-how-you-count dept (3, Funny)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432878)

4, 5, 6, 1, 2, 3...

Bzzt! Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32432306)

I know for a fact that this is wrong, because every single beetle with a slightly different coloration OBVIOUSLY counts as a new species. Who needs to check for mating incompatibility?

Re:Bzzt! Wrong (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432510)

"... very single beetle with a slightly different coloration OBVIOUSLY counts as a new species ..."

Why obviously? The only definition of a species is that two organisms that cannot mate are, by definition, different species.

Re:Bzzt! Wrong (1)

toastar (573882) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432564)

"... very single beetle with a slightly different coloration OBVIOUSLY counts as a new species ..."

Why obviously? The only definition of a species is that two organisms that cannot mate are, by definition, different species.

So by that definition, How many species of mules are out there?

Re:Bzzt! Wrong (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432674)

1.

Mules cannot mate because they are sterile, not because they have incompatible genes.

Re:Bzzt! Wrong (2, Informative)

vtcodger (957785) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433548)

Mules most certainly can mate, and occasionally the female versions get pregnant and have foals. The usual fertility issues with horse/donkey mules are because they have an odd number of genes (63) rather than 62 (donkeys) or 64 (horses) which results in difficulties pairing up genetic material. At least that's what Wikipedia tells me. Would Jamie Wailes lie to me? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mule [wikipedia.org]

Re:Bzzt! Wrong (1)

dietdew7 (1171613) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433060)

So man and donkey are the same species?

Re:Bzzt! Wrong (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433414)

They can try to mate, though it is usually frowned upon. I'm led to believe they wouldn't produce any offspring. Though there was this girl I once woke up beside after some heavy drinking that casts a doubt on that assertion.

Re:Bzzt! Wrong (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433480)

And what about manbearpig?

Is it just one specie? Or does it count like three? Or maybe not at all since it's not for real?

Actually... (1)

Benfea (1365845) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432704)

...despite what you were told in school, the definition of "species" has become considerably fuzzier than "can mate". It is not a cut-and-dried designation at all anymore, which obviously complicates counting the total number of species on the planet.

This source [talkorigins.org] includes discussion on what counts as a species.

Re:Actually... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433272)

It would be more accurate to say that there are fuzzy cases of speciation .

IN most circumstances 'can it mate' is good enough.

Yes, some plant are asexual, yes genetic material can be transferred between species via virus.

In this count, they didn't count bacteria, and the removes most of the 'fuzzy' area.

Re:Actually... (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433512)

the definition of "species" has become considerably fuzzier than "can mate". It is not a cut-and-dried designation at all anymore

Damn Internet-porn!

Re:Bzzt! Wrong (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432990)

Do slashdotters count as a single different species or are each of us a species unto ourselves?

Re:Bzzt! Wrong (2, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433018)

Well... "Two organisms that cannot produce fertile offspring are separate species" would probably be more accurate. Otherwise you would be lumping tigers and lions into the same species. And the reverse is not true, just because two species can produce fertile offspring doesn't mean they are the same species. For example, polar bears are able to breed with brown bears, false killer whales can create fertile offspring with bottle nosed dolphins; not to mention the countless plant hybrids that are possible.

Re:Bzzt! Wrong (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433168)

Well... "Two organisms that cannot produce fertile offspring are separate species" would probably be more accurate. Otherwise you would be lumping tigers and lions into the same species. And the reverse is not true, just because two species can produce fertile offspring doesn't mean they are the same species.

Yeah, the "can they produce fertile offspring" test is really only a way that lets you say that two populations (not organisms, I mean most of the time two males of the same species can't breed :P) are definitely different species. The definition of "species" is way too fuzzy to easily say that things which can breed are the same species.

Re:Bzzt! Wrong (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432550)

There's a reason that nobody bothered to classify all those bugs in the amazon... who cares. As long as swatting them kills them, a bug is a bug.

Unless it secretes the cure for cancer or something, it's just not a big deal.

I care more about the species that are very unlike average life. those are the interesting ones. the stuff that lives on ocean floor heat vents, or generate their own light sources, etc.

also, 5.5 million is still a lot of anything.

Re:Bzzt! Wrong (1)

XSpud (801834) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432732)

There's a reason that nobody bothered to classify all those bugs in the amazon... who cares. As long as swatting them kills them, a bug is a bug.

Unless it secretes the cure for cancer or something, it's just not a big deal.

However the bug you've just killed might just happen to be the sole pollinator of a plant that is a cure for cancer. You just don't know until you've studied them.

Re:Bzzt! Wrong (3, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432698)

The notion of interbreeding as the sole definition of species is simply wrong. Even where fertile hybrids are produced, as with brown bears and polar bears, it's still not enough to warrant declaring them the same species. There are a number of factors that go into determining when two populations are members of the same species or not, and producing fertile and fit offspring is only one of them.

Good news! (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432308)

We have a lot less work ahead of us that originally anticipated. Only 5.499999 million to go!

Well yeah, now... (5, Funny)

MarbleMunkey (1495379) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432330)

after we've killed off a bunch of them.

Re:Well yeah, now... (3, Funny)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432368)

hey, dude... BP is trying as hard as they can to get the rest of them, too. It's just taking a little longer than first thought. Cut them some slack.

Re:Well yeah, now... (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432388)

So, since most people adhere to evolutionary theories - isn't killing off of species by other species part of evolution?

Re:Well yeah, now... (4, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432610)

Yeah, sure.

But we can ask the question: Is our wanton destruction of many of the ecosystems on earth a desirable thing?

Quibbling over whether it is properly described as natural or not sort of misses the point.

Re:Well yeah, now... (2, Interesting)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433402)

But we can ask the question: Is our wanton destruction of many of the ecosystems on earth a desirable thing?

Interesting. I'd certainly argue it's not. Good point.

Quibbling over whether it is properly described as natural or not sort of misses the point.

Granted. On the other hand, it's not a moral issue, in this case. It's a survival-of-our-race issue, in this case?

My underlying point is that many seem to hold to two opposing ideas, IMO...

1. There is no God, and evolution is how everything got here.

2. It's wrong to destroy species, etc. There's some moral/ethical/inherently-bad thing about it.

To me, there's a disconnect. #1 has some amount of backing (evolutionary theory). #2, combined with #1, seems to me to have no backing.

However, if it's simply a desirable or undesirable thing, that's a different argument, which I was not thinking about.

Due to my own beliefs, I actually think we are responsible to take care of the environment, and thus it CAN be actually wrong to kill off species.. or, as you aptly put it, wanton destruction.

Re:Well yeah, now... (0, Troll)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432612)

It is a side effect in some situations. Humans killing (read: driving to extinction) other species is no longer beneficial to our evolution.

Re:Well yeah, now... (2, Insightful)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432908)

Humans killing (read: driving to extinction) other species is no longer beneficial to our evolution.

How do you know that?

I'm sure you're probably right, or right about most species, but I think the whole system is too chaotic for you to make that point as an absolute truth. Some extinctions have been GREAT for humanity (or at least mammals in general).

Re:Well yeah, now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32433472)

I'm not sure what species you're thinking of whose extinction was great for humanity, but they must have been horrifying. As for why these extinctions are so bad for us, part of it is that some of these things threatened with extinction are tasty.

Re:Well yeah, now... (2, Insightful)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432626)

Yes, it would be a part of the whole selection process.

The real problem with the numbers that go extinct is that when some species are removed from existence, the whole ecosystem goes crazy because it's not built to operate at the sudden pace that we're pushing it at. Plus, we're hitting nearly every ecosystem with rapid change at once, which is taking a somewhat delicate system and playing Jenga with it.

Re:Well yeah, now... (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432670)

When everything goes completely to shit and I'm huddled in some parched wasteland with a band of emaciated survivors, I'm going to use my dying breath to yell "Jenga!!!"

Re:Well yeah, now... (4, Insightful)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433478)

when some species are removed from existence, the whole ecosystem goes crazy because it's not built to operate at the sudden pace that we're pushing it at. Plus, we're hitting nearly every ecosystem with rapid change at once, which is taking a somewhat delicate system and playing Jenga with it.

In other words: Once we hit that bulls-eye, the dominoes will fall like a house of cards; checkmate.

Re:Well yeah, now... (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432636)

Not really. Once a species dies out completely, it's failed at evolution. Killing off a significant proportion of a population periodically, however, causes the traits of the survivors to be selected for. An example of this is immunity to rat poison. Rats have a very high mutation rate (a huge number of them die of cancer as a result), and so it's likely that a very small proportion of the population will be immune to any given poison that you can use. After a few days, you've killed off all of the local population except the immune ones. After a few weeks, the survivors have passed on their immunity to their offspring, and a couple of months later you have the same number of rats but none are immune. In contrast, if you kill them all with fire (which they are very unlikely to be immune to) then none will survive to the next generation so the local population dies completely.

Re:Well yeah, now... (4, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433116)

So in order to kill Master Splinter, we must use flame throwers, got it.

Re:Well yeah, now... (4, Funny)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433128)

In contrast, if you kill them all with fire (which they are very unlikely to be immune to) then none will survive to the next generation so the local population dies completely.

A rat immune to poisons AND fire would be amazing. In a few generations, we could have rats that are poison resistant, fire-resistant, metal-resistant, you name it.

Awesome.

Basically, we'd have a group of cleric-rats.

Re:Well yeah, now... (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433136)

if you kill them all with fire (which they are very unlikely to be immune to) then none will survive to the next generation so the local population dies completely.

Or nukes from orbit.

Just sayin'.

Re:Well yeah, now... (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433232)

That won't work. Don't you remember? Rats, cockroaches, and twinkies are nuke-proof.

Re:Well yeah, now... (1)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433254)

In contrast, if you kill them all with fire (which they are very unlikely to be immune to) ...

Yeah, but can you imagine the kind of rat that would be immune to fire?! I say nuke 'em from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Re:Well yeah, now... (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432738)

Natural selection is indeed integral to speciation over time. However because humans are subjective creatures, they get upset when natural selection does select what they want. When species that they think are 'cute' or 'pretty' start to die because the environment doesn't support them, whereas species that they think are 'ugly' or 'gross' proliferate because they use the resources of an environment better than others, they get upset and start whining and blaming each other. It's pretty stupid. They refuse to understand that natural processes don't care about humanity's subjective aesthetic or other qualitative evaluation of different species. Whatever works best now lives, whatever previously worked but now does not dies.

Re:Well yeah, now... (1)

Sperbels (1008585) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433030)

So, since most people adhere to evolutionary theories - isn't killing off of species by other species part of evolution?

Yes, but evolution won't necessarily be kind to us if we do so. Evolution isn't necessarily a good thing, especially if its crosshairs are on you.

Re:Well yeah, now... (5, Insightful)

wastedlife (1319259) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433048)

I'll bite. Stop anthropomorphizing evolution. Evolution does not care if it is the right thing to grow a second head or kill off the only food source. Evolution is a theory used to explain how organisms change with successive generations. That is all. It should not be used to moralize our actions. That is how things like eugenics get proposed. Going by your logic, because many people adhere to astronomy theories, we should not attempt to intercede if we detect a large comet on a collision course with Earth or the Moon.

Re:Well yeah, now... (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433326)

I'm not trying to anthropomorphize, actually. I know it's a theory of a natural process, not any sort of intelligence, will, etc.

And I agre,e it shouldn't be used to moralize actions, and that is how things like eugenics get proposed, and that's exactly what I don't want.

So, the subsequent question - where does the morality part come from?

Re:Well yeah, now... (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433302)

Indeed it is a part of evolution, however humans have developed ways and means of changing the environment to our liking. For instance, I live in an apartment, not a cave.

We can decide whether we'd prefer to kill off other species, or live in harmony with them. We can even preferentially keep species alive if we like them enough, even though they'd probably die out without our help.

Re:Well yeah, now... (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432766)

This new estimate just makes the job easier.

Re:Well yeah, now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32433234)

We killed the other 70million,............and not because we need to, but because we just don't care!

(but we humans are nice people)

Re:Well yeah, now... (2, Funny)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433322)

after we've killed off a bunch of them.

How can you be so calm when this study alone just wiped out an estimated 94.5% of all species on Earth?

That right... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32432346)

5.5 MILLION tasty species.

Re:That right... (4, Interesting)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432606)

Actually, being tasty to humans is one of the most advantageous adaptations a species can have. Well, either the best or the worst, depending on if we raise them or unsustainably collect them from the wild until the population collapses. You don't see cows or chickens or apples or oranges in any danger any time soon, but then again, things have been eaten to extinction. I don't think it's too bad of an idea to, where possible, try to introduce cultivated or farmed endangered species into the food supply. Preservation through consumption.

Mmmmm... Sea Turtle Soup (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433072)

Actually, that's not too bad of a premise. The sad part is, is farming many types of foods is prohibitively expensive. And some just don't/won't grow in a non-natural environment. It would be nice to have more awareness of different foods, and farm ability. I personally think that a lot of farmed foods simply aren't as tasty as their wild cousins. Then again, sometimes it's just what you want.

Re:That right... (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433112)

Yes, you do -- at least, subspecies (or varieties) of cows, chickens, oranges or apples.

For example, there used to be different kinds of apples grown in different regions of the UK. Now, most apples are one of a few varieties that work very well commercially. There are some efforts to introduce other varieties, I'm not sure how successful it's been.

50% of our food comes from three species (wheat, rice, maize). Another 40% (45%? I can't remember) comes from about 30 more species, but in total 30,000 species are eaten.

Purely for self-preservation (food, medicine), we need to keep as much biodiversity around as possible.

5.5M and counting (0, Flamebait)

the_other_one (178565) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432362)

5500000^H^H^H^H^H^H^H5499999^H^H^H^H^H^H^H5499998^H^H^H^H^H^H^H5499997...

Re:5.5M and counting (1)

iprefermuffins (1460233) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432590)

Consider switching to unary - you'll only have to backspace once each time.

Re:5.5M and counting (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432932)

Or just use ^W instead of ^H a bunch of times

Re:5.5M and counting (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432968)

So in your mind species only die? Speciation happens all the time. New species are developing to fill new niches created by environmental changes, as it has always happened. Regardless of mass extinctions in (relatively) short periods, in fact arguably because of mass extinctions, the number of species over geologic time has always increased, and the rate of speciation has always increased. There are/were more species in the Holocene than any other period. If we lose a few we might, what, end up in a biosphere more like the Pleistocene? Who cares? We lived back then too. Species we relied on in that period went extinct during climate changes that reached their zenith during the Holocene Climate Optimum, yet somehow everything seems to carry on without the mammoth. If we can live in the Holocene without species from the Pleistocene, chances are better than average that we can live fine in the post-Holocene without species from today, yesterday, or tomorrow.

Depending on where you start (5, Funny)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432446)

Each more delicious than the last!

Hmm... maybe I should have had breakfast this morning...

that will increase when... (1)

starglider29a (719559) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432522)

the Nanites and the self-aware computers finally hit their stride.

or it will decrease (1)

weirdcrashingnoises (1151951) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433102)

at that point... to zero.

BP claims responsibility (3, Funny)

theNAM666 (179776) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432548)

London, England. Today BP Chairman Johan Georing declared responsibilty for the recently discovered mass extinction of species on Planet Earth. "With 10 to 15 million down," Georing said, "we only have four or five million more to go. And just look how well we seem to be doing this month."

No more life on earth in 2160 (1, Interesting)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432572)

So they say there are 5.5 million species on earth and the World Resources Institute [berkeley.edu] Says 100 species are going extinct every day!

So, by 2160 every species on earth will be extinct. Sounds good to me, lets eat!

Re:No more life on earth in 2160 (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432664)

Because linear extrapolation is always true.

Loser species go first, who cares about these cows [wikipedia.org] ?

The toughest honorable species, like roaches will remain well beyond 2160. Hail Darwin!

Re:No more life on earth in 2160 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32432812)

Re:No more life on earth in 2160 (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433354)

I find myself referencing that chart a lot with idiots. Environmentalists especially, but it applies to anybody who thinks x is going bad/good at rate y. Therefore x will get worse/better FOREVER at rate y, so we know that at time z, x will be y * z bad/good. It's fucking retarded, and these people [slashdot.org] exist in this very thread.

What makes it especially retarded in regard to this specific issue is that barring an extra-planetary event, the elimination of life is probably near impossible. If life originated by natural forces through some form of abiogenesis, then it follows that life did exist on raw materials before it proliferated. Even if all the complex species were somehow eradicated, the less/least complex species would matobolize raw materials and sunlight without any help/competition from other species.

Re:No more life on earth in 2160 (1)

Wiarumas (919682) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432686)

Sadly enough, that may be pretty accurate!

You're assuming a constant extinction rate (3, Insightful)

Benfea (1365845) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432742)

Which obviously could not be the case. This is the same sort of erroneous statistics that lead to creationist "proofs" that the world is only 4,000/6,000/10,000 years old by assuming that the current human population growth rate is exactly the same as it has been throughout history and counting backwards.

Re:You're assuming a constant extinction rate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32433310)

So will extinction rate go up or down in the future? ie: Does extinction of a species increase or decrease the chance of another species going extinct?

Re:No more life on earth in 2160 (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432896)

That depends on whether we knock out a few very important species or not. kind of like the difference between knocking out a window and knocking out one of the support beams. One has very little impact; the other causes a collapse.

Re:No more life on earth in 2160 (1)

ElKry (1544795) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433446)

There is a difference between "100 species are going extinct every day" and "the number of species goes down by 100 every day". Spot it.

This is an industry sponsored study (4, Funny)

intheshelter (906917) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432574)

It is obviously another propaganda attempt by the biodiversity denialists who are funded by the Big Zoo industry.

Something seems fishy.... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32432592)

FTA:

By looking at all of the beetles that live on a single tree species in Papua New Guinea, the researchers were able to extrapolate their numbers to a global scale.

No, they thought they could extrapolate their numbers to a global scale. Luckily, they used only the most rigourous methods...

This type of model is widely used in financial risk assessments, but has rarely been applied to ecology.

Well perhaps not the most rigourous, more likely that type of model has never been applied to reality, but I digress. This smells like bullshit science and shouldn't be leant much credibility.

I sneezed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32432820)

And i am terribly sorry for those several million caught in the blast wave.

Yours sincerely,
    Human Race

Trophy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32432882)

Well that will make the "Kill one of every animal species" trophy much easier to acquire.

WTF (1)

Dumnezeu (1673634) | more than 4 years ago | (#32432904)

Wow... The headline is more informative than the summary. And it's not even misleading (only the actual story is)! *thumbs up @ slashdot*

The could of mentioned (1, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433070)

in the submitted blurb that it's because they didn't include bacteria in this study.

  Yes, they removed a whole group and then the number was less..I'm shocked it tell you, Shocked!

By what definition of species? (3, Informative)

Fractal Dice (696349) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433134)

But what definition of species does this estimate use? It may seem odd, but there really isn't a scientific consensus of how to define a "species". That's not to say there aren't strong opinions out there, but it tends to vary from field to field depending on what questions a particular group of biologists is trying to answer. When you actually dig down and look carefully, there are shades of gray and blurring of lines all over the place (as would be expected for a world that is constantly evolving - there's no clear day on which one species becomes two).

(If you're trying to count species from the point of view of a billionaire with a Pokemon mindset, you're going to be disappointed because there will never have a perfect checklist for you to collect)

Assuming (1)

adeft (1805910) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433164)

Isn't it a little assuming to count things we haven't found yet? I don't see anything about whether this is known species or just an arbitrary made up number of what scientists haven't seen yet. Might as well add God and the Loch Ness Monster to the list.

The real question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32433216)

The real question is how many of those species are delicious?

Not getting there methods (2, Informative)

cenc (1310167) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433262)

Let me see if I understand their methods. If we take some sort of statistical sample with trees common to the deserts in Africa (let's say two Beatles named Ringo and Paul live in all of them), we can also determine the number of species on Earth? What happens if we pick a tree species where no Beatles or any species lives? Hell, what if we start with a desert with no trees or life at all? How about the poles? How many Beatles live in them apple trees?

The statistical likelihood of BS seems very high.

Excellent! (1)

Sepultura (150245) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433274)

Only 3 more species and I'll have tasted them all!!!

Study excludes microorganisms (3, Informative)

hallucinogen (1263152) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433298)

The study doesn't take into account bacteria, archaea nor unicellular eukaryotes. That's where by far most of biodiversity (species count and number of genes and metabolic pathways) and biomass (carbon and nutrients) lie. Typical macroworld arrogance :(

Alternate headlines (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433336)

Some alternate headlines:

New estimate suggests 5.5M species on Earth, not 5.4M

New estimate suggests 5.5M species on Earth, not 5-10

New estimate suggests 5.5M species on Earth, not 1M (also not 1.1M, nor 1.2M, nor 1.3M)

I mean really, all that changed here was our estimate. The number of species didn't suddenly change; this revision of estimate didn't suddenly eliminate 24M+ species.

Source journal may give clue to veracity (1)

TimmyDee (713324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433386)

I'm not saying the researchers didn't do their homework, but for something of this gravity, I would have expected Science or Nature to pick it up, not American Naturalist. Not that American Naturalist is a bad journal, but its certainly easier to get a paper in there than other journals (even Ecology, if I'm not mistaken). In light of that, I'm a bit skeptical of their claims.

How many taste good BBQ'd (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433428)

I think what we all want to know is how many taste great after a slow smoke with apple wood.

That doesn't sound right (1)

Torino10 (1369453) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433458)

The vast majority of named species is animal with over 1.25 million named, if there isn't as many plant and fungi as animals I would be extremely surprised.

Well, I've been thinking about taxonomy recently. (2, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#32433550)

It's largely a matter of convention. Wolves hybridize with coyotes to produce viable offspring ... but the two species are genetically, behaviorally and ecologically distinct (in most places) so it seems reasonable to treat them as different species.

Insect species are often split based on tiny morphological details, even where the two populations hybridize. Other times they are organized into "subspecies", or species within a genus are organized into "subgenera".

What might make more sense is some kind of measure of genetic entropy. That would also count low species diversity, as in cases of species that pass through genetic bottlenecks (e.g. cheetahs), and so which represent a less stable population.

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