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Still Waters

462 more species of bird in the world

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There are 462 more species of bird in the world than previously thought after the most comprehensive avian analysis ever undertaken identified 46 new species of parrot, 26 extra owls and a host of other new entrants to the record books.

http://www.independe...ht-9683970.html

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I sort of assumed this is what happened, before the article confirmed the reason for the new higher numbers: Taxonomists are sometimes divided into two camps: lumpers and splitters. Lumpers take large numbers regarded as seperate species and combine them into fewer or one species, splitters take a known number of species and divide them into more species. This happens more in plants as far as I know, especially when a plant is known over a large number of tropical islands such as Indonesia or the Philippines. What is first described as one species can thus become many if each island population is given species status. I suppose whether that is always justified is a matter of opinion.

So the birds are not more unknown birds that have just been discovered (although perhaps some are actually new). Most are just subspecies that have been given specific status. Binomial classification is a manmade constructs anyway to help humans catalog plants, animals and other living organisms and to establish relationships within groups.

Meanwhile, the birds have not noticed the change.

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