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Earth United Kingdom Science

World's Plant Life Far Less Diverse Than Thought 338

Posted by timothy
from the consolidating-knowledge dept.
Meshach writes "A report out of FOX News (I know, I know) says that there are far fewer unique species of plants than previously thought. The report states that only about a third of named species are actually unique. The rest have been 'discovered' multiple times, often by separate scientists."
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World's Plant Life Far Less Diverse Than Thought

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  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @08:58PM (#34717682)
    The fact that existing discovered and named flora is redundant should not be too surprising. But the number that we have discovered has no bearing whatsoever on the amount or variety of undiscovered flora, at all. So a statement like "World's Plant Live Far Less Diverse Than Thought" is simply irresponsible. The former situation is simply not evidence of the latter. It has long been acknowledged that we have only formally "discovered" and categorized a small fraction of the Earth's actual diversity.
  • by mrwolf007 (1116997) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @08:59PM (#34717700)

    As far as i can tell as a non-american is that Fox News is a pretty lowly news outlet.

    However that doesnt automaticly mean the story cant be true.

    Just start assuming the opposite. "There are no duplicates within the millions of plants discovered." In a database of that size, with manually made entries for well over a 100 years, highly unlikely.

    So, without further knowledge, one can only speculate about the percentage of duplicate entries.

  • Re:ah faux news (Score:3, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @09:02PM (#34717718)

    Which one of those others fought a lawsuit to preserve their right to lie?

    I have no problems with any news of any political leaning, but outright lying seems a bit much if you want to call it news.

  • Re:ah faux news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheWanderingHermit (513872) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @09:10PM (#34717792)

    Considering how they ignore science when it's inconvenient to their agenda, like the recent memos on global warming, for example, they've shown they can intentionally distort science as much as they distort politics.

  • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Thursday December 30, 2010 @09:13PM (#34717822) Homepage Journal
    This really shouldn't come as much surprise. There are plenty of plants that look dramatically different at different stages of their life; if they were being "discovered" for the first time they could well be called different species. Add to that the differing languages spoken by different botanists when attempting to classify species and the problem grows very quickly.

    And for that matter, with molecular biology our notion of "species" is changing as well. Now a species is defined more along the lines of a unique genome (or at least uniquely organized genome) than simply on where and how it grows. Now we realize that - especially in the plant kingdom - there are many pairings of different species of plants that can hybridize and produce viable offspring.

    So indeed, the number was due to be corrected at some point. This happens in other sciences, too; a while ago a few species of dinosaurs were recently re-classified as likely being juvenile specimens of other species.
  • by dbIII (701233) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @09:16PM (#34717850)
    I've got a marine example about the extent of undiscovered species but it still applies. At the moment there is a large ongoing survey of marine life in part of Australia's great barrier reef (emphasis added):
    http://www.abc.net.au/rn/scienceshow/stories/2010/3095035.htm#transcript [abc.net.au]

    Dr John Hooper (Queensland Museum):"Things like the Echinoderms which we thought were relatively well known, the whole Holothurians alone, we had a visiting French researcher who looked at the collection of about 130 species we've got and he said you've probably got about 30 new species here, but this big one over here, he was referring to something the size of a house brick, is possibly a new genus as well. This is something you'd trip over if it was on a beach."

    The podcast is at: http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/rn/podcast/2010/12/ssw_20101218_1213.mp3 [abc.net.au]

  • by tirefire (724526) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @09:17PM (#34717860)
    Well I think it's just a tragedy how many poor undiscovered species face extinction every year.

    Consider logging, a practice which harms the spotted owl. Now consider how many undiscovered species (it's in the thousands, just fyi) face an equal threat from logging. And consider how many of those undiscovered species are actually harmed by logging, not just in the minds of alarmists like me, but *really harmed*, as in dying! We have all fallen from grace, and must return to the Eden where humans and animals alike soaked in the love of Gaia, the Earth Mother. If we all partake in the Eucharist of Sustainability, we will attain Salvation.

    Fox News does not have a monopoly on stupidity. On the environment, it enjoys a duopoly with career environmentalists.
  • Re:ah faux news (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rlp (11898) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @09:32PM (#34717974)

    I'll make you a deal. I'll support a ban on submissions from Fox News as long as we never have to see another submission from MSNBC, Mother Jones, Rolling Stone, or anything similar.

    I'll second that if we can add Huffington Post and Daily Kos to the list.

  • Re:ah faux news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @09:38PM (#34718016)

    No, a news organization can't have a view point and still be a news organization.

    So, you are saying that there are no news organizations, and never have been any.

  • Re:Meh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by icebike (68054) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @09:43PM (#34718060)

    'discovered' multiple times, often by separate scientists."

    One would certainly HOPE it was from separate scientists, now wouldn't one.....

    Having the same guy name the same snail again and again and nobody catching it wouldn't say much about the rest of the guy's peers.

  • Re:ah faux news (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Brett Buck (811747) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @09:56PM (#34718192)

    No, a news organization can't have a view point and still be a news organization. Well, not quite, a news organization can't set out to have one and still be a news organization.

          So NBC, CBS, ABC,CNN, MSNBC, NYT, etc, are pure as the driven snow? And their tendency to spew every nonsensical DNC talking point is just good journalism? Got it.

            Brett

  • Re:ah faux news (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @10:16PM (#34718350)

    I can't see why this would be a political issue.

    It isn't. But we have a moderation system where the average dumbshit can add the word 'Insightful' to any post he finds interesting. Since nobody considers the consequences of modding up comments that you happen to agree with, we end up with a thread like this where there's an interesting story about the problems with data collection but everybody's babbling about the source it came from.

  • Re:ah faux news (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Shadow of Eternity (795165) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @10:26PM (#34718406)

    Politics can best be mapped to a conical pyramid with the center being on it's flat face. The further away from the center you get in ANY direction the closer you come to meeting at the end point in "Batshit Insane Land".

    Fox's target audience doesn't have political beliefs, they have a Faith.

  • Re:ah faux news (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pitchpipe (708843) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @10:58PM (#34718596)

    No, a news organization can't have a view point and still be a news organization.

    So, you are saying that there are no news organizations, and never have been any.

    Original quote in context: No, a news organization can't have a view point and still be a news organization. Well, not quite, a news organization can't set out to have one and still be a news organization.

    I see FOXNEWS has taught you well, young Dimedici.

  • Re:ah faux news (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheWanderingHermit (513872) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @11:21PM (#34718696)

    I know it may come as a shock to some but most people in the US aren't liberals.

    "Liberal" is just the word the extreme right has made up to describe anyone they disagree with. It's a label, almost a pejorative they've created so they can just say, "He's a liberal," instead of dealing with something a person has said that has any validity. It's a way to call names instead of dealing with the facts.

    It's been so distorted by people that think there is their way and the wrong way that it really doesn't have any meaning any longer.

  • Re:ah faux news (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TapeCutter (624760) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @11:58PM (#34718946) Journal
    The US has a different definition of "middle" than the rest of the western world.
  • Re:ah faux news (Score:4, Insightful)

    by The_mad_linguist (1019680) on Friday December 31, 2010 @01:47AM (#34719516)

    Look, let's just ban timothy and kdawson, and call it a day.

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