May 18, 2007


Chicago's Field Museum is collaborating on a project that intends to create a free Internet resource to catalog and describe every one of the planet's 1.8 million species.

The $50 million biodiversity effort, named the Encyclopedia of Life, was launched May 9 . Field Museum's curator of zoology, Mark Westneat said that it " could be like Google Earth for the tree of life ". Imagine zooming up the trunk of the tree of life, and zipping off to look at ferns and fungi, then zipping to the bird branches, and hopping over to dinosaurs. "

Software engineers are working on applications that could create customized maps showing the geographic home of any species, doing in minutes what could take months with current technology.

Write this down : It is sure to be an authoritative version of Wikipedia for biology fans.

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