According to the most comprehensive assessment about the life on Earth that has officially come out in the scientific community, there are 1 trillion species living on our planet. This is a number at least 100 000 times greater than what had so far been accepted to exist on Earth. If this analysis is accepted in the scientific community, this practically means that 99.9% of the living organisms on our Earth are unknown to science.
The leading theory that had until now been officially recognized in science was the one from 2011, made by an international team of scientists, who posited that the number of species living here were about 8.7 million. They put an upper and lower boundary on their estimates. The lower one stated that the number of different forms of life on the planet couldn't be less than 7.4 million, while the upper estimated no more than 10 million.
But currently, researchers from Indiana University believe that this number severely underestimates the actual situation. The experts claim that previous studies have simply ignored microorganisms and that they have used questionable techniques.
"The older estimates are based on samples that have been brutally underestimated in terms of science, " professor Jay Lennon tells the Daily Mail. "The assessment of the number of species on Earth is among the greatest challenges in biology. But our research combines the largest data arrays of ecological models and gives us a new and clear estimate about the number of microbial species living on Earth, " he adds.
Microbial species are too small to be seen with the naked eye. Scientists have even considered unicellular organisms, as well as bacteria, Archaeans and certain species of fungi.
The new estimate comes based on mathematical techniques, including the cross examination of huge data arrays and universal scaling laws. The analyzed data from it were published at the beginning of April in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
Scientists combined all currently known to science data about plants, animals and microbial life from administrative, academic and civilian sources. Their work is the largest collection of data, concerning life on Earth, ever comprised.