Why Most New Species Are Discovered By Amateurs

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Most new species are discovered by amateurs because nowadays non-professionals are actually better suited to the requirements of new species “discovery.”

To learn more about this topic, start your googling with these keywords:
Taxonomy: The branch of science concerned with classifying organisms
Taxonomic Impediment: The gaps in our taxonomic knowledge and the shortage of trained taxonomists and curators.
Amateur Taxonomist: Someone who classifies organisms but is not paid to do so.
Malacology: The study of mollusks, including snails and slugs.
Type Specimen: The specimen used to officially describe a new species.

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David Goldenberg (@dgoldenberg) | Script Writer, Narrator and Director
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Pearson, D., Hamilton, A., Erwin, T. (2011). Recovery Plan for the Endangered Taxonomy Profession. BioScience. 61:1 (58–63). Retrieved from:

Agnarsson I, Kuntner M. (2007). Taxonomy in a changing world: seeking solutions for a science in crisis. Syst Biol.56(3):531-9. Retrieved from:

Warren, R. (2019). The New Publish or Perish: Requirements for Jobs and Tenure. ASA Footnotes. $7:1. Retrieved from:

Leber, J. (2019). Species Sleuths: Amateur Naturalists Spark a New Wave of Discovery. Yale Environment 360. Retrieved from:

Nuwer, R. (2013). A Rallying Cry For Naming All Species On Earth. New York Times. Retrieved from:

Fraussen, Koen. Personal Communication (2020). Bus Driver, Public Transport Company, Flanders, Belgium.

Mora, Camilo. Personal Communication (2020). Associate Professor, Department of Geography and Environment, University of Hawaii.

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