All plants, animals to be catalogued

Putting an end to repeated efforts to compile a list of every life form on Earth, scientists will unveil an Encyclopaedia, cataloguing all 1.8 million plants and animals on the Planet. The project's first 30,000-page draft - covering large numbers of fish, amphibia, mammals and birds - will be released on Wednesday, the Daily Telegraph reported. With the help of a software pioneered by internet sites such as Wikipedia, the 300-year-old problem of how to document such a vast array of the planet's natural diversity has been resolved. The team of international researchers has found the solution with a, so-called, mash-up software, which gathers huge amounts of information from diverse sources. According to its designers, it is intended partly as a resource for those with an interest in the natural world but also as a tool for scientists and policymakers. By comparing information about different species, scientists hope they will be able to find new methods to slow the spread of unwelcome species and explain why some creatures live longer than others. In 1735, Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus published his masterwork Systema Naturae which was the first attempt at recording the systems in nature. He promised a classification of every known living thing but by the time he reached his 13th and final edition in 1770 his efforts had swelled from 11 pages to 3,000 and the work was still incomplete.

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