Mankind has continued to be the most dominant species of animals on Earth for a long time. While mankind has a population of around 7 billion people and continues to grow, many people would be surprised by how many different species of animals on the planet there are. Overall, the number of species is significant and can even be very challenging to estimate.
How many species are in the world?
While there are many different scientists and other professionals that are dedicated to discovering animal life and studying a variety of species, most believe that we have barely scratched the surface when it comes to determining how many species there truly are. For the past few centuries, scientists have continued to document the species that they have discovered. It seems the more that they learn, the more they realize they have yet to discover. Many scientists have come to the conclusion that we have likely discovered no more than 15% of species in total.
To date, scientists have discovered and documented around 1.2 million species located all over the globe. This means that there could be a total of 8.7 million different species on animals on Earth. This is a fascinating total and leaves many people wondering what amazing animals that we have yet to discover.
How are species categorized?
One reason why there are so many different species could be due to the detailed measures that are taken to categorize them. The classification of species is broken down based on the genus of the species. It can then be broken down even further based on unique features that it does not share with other members of the same group or family.
Problem with extinction
One of the main reasons why there are so many species of animals that have not yet been discovered is because of extinction. The extinction of some animals is something that a lot of scientists and conservationists are focused on. However, there are far more species of animals that go extinct every week that you may not even be aware of. Due to the fact that we may not have even documented the species in the first place makes it hard to know what species we may have existed with in the past.
Further, mass extinction events have also changed the number of species. Similar to what happened to the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, many animals can be wiped out by traumatic events, changes in weather patterns, or the introduction of new predators. All of these can then provide for the opportunity for new species of animals to form due to mutation in the future.
Inability to find animals
Another reason why we may not be able to document all of the animals on the planet is that we simply cannot find them. While there are more than 7 billion people on the planet, the human race is largely concentrated around smaller areas shared by many humans. This leaves a lot of land that is not the least bit hindered or touched by humans. Some areas of the rain forest, cold woods, hot deserts, and other areas are full of animals that belong to a species that may never interact with humans.