Website review: http://www.yaw.nhm.ac.uk/nhm/index.html

http://www.yaw.nhm.ac.uk/nhm/index.html

This web site is the brainchild of UK scientists, who have hit upon an effective method to counter the controversy surrounding the names of the nation's 50,000 known species. It is estimated that about 300,000 scientific names are used to distinguish them.

To resolve this multiple name muddle, scientists at the Natural History Museum and the National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Trust, have launched this online species dictionary. Users can search the database by keying in either a species' common or scientific name. The query throws up the species' other associated names, apart from its conservation and legal standing.

Useful links on the site lead to other NBN sites, which present interactive maps portraying the species' distribution and related data. The online dictionary, which includes some Gaelic and Welsh names, will be made more attractive to the layperson by the forthcoming addition of a sister site called Nature Navigator. Humour is not lacking either; the entry for Homo sapiens reads: "Britain's commonest large mammal. Found in all habitats at all seasons. Strongly colonial.'

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