A free internet encyclopaedia is being set up to classify every living species of animal and plant on Earth.
The Encyclopaedia of Life will create an entry for every one of the current 1.8 million known species, and will add new species as they are discovered. Written descriptions will be backed up by photographs, maps and videos.
A dedicated team working on the project will range from 25 to 35 people.
Initially, species classification will focus on animals, plants and fungi, and information on microbes will be added at a later date. Species that exist only as fossils could also be added in the future.
The project will use existing databases to cut down on the needless replication of information, with entries on birds, mammals, fish, amphibians and plants being drawn from these sources.
The database will be written in English to begin with and other languages will be added later.
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