DEC 30, 2016 10:19 AM PST

There Could Be Twice As Many Bird Species As Originally Thought

When it comes to birds, you’re probably familiar with many of the different kinds you might see on a day-to-day basis. There are a ton of different bird species, many of which look different from one another, but some may even look similar to one another.

There are so many different kinds of birds in the world, but there may be more than we think.

Despite all the different kinds of birds that we think we know today, a new study carried out by the American Meuseum of Natural History suggests that perhaps there at least twice as many species of birds in existence today than we actually know about.

The details behind this bold hypothesis appear in the journal PLOS ONE, suggesting that there is a lot more biodiversity between bird species than previously thought because some birds that are interbred or just look alike may have went unchecked.

"We are proposing a major change to how we count diversity," said Joel Cracraft, an author of the study and a curator in the American Museum of Natural History's Department of Ornithology. "This new number says that we haven't been counting and conserving species in the ways we want."

Currently, anywhere from 9,000-10,000 different species of birds are known to exist, but these are determined by the biological species concept, an outdated means of determining different species that could really do with a 21st century re-haul.

"It's really an outdated point of view, and it's a concept that is hardly used in taxonomy outside of birds," said lead author George Barrowclough, an associate curator in the Museum's Department of Ornithology.

As a part of this study, the researchers sampled approximately 200 birds via morphology, a way of characterizing birds by their physical appearance. While using this method, as many as two different species were discovered for each of the 200 that were sampled, yielding close to double the bird species in just a small sample.

As you can imagine, this discovery has lead scientists to think that similar statistics will probably show up in greater samples, such as the 9,000-10,000 known species figure mentioned earlier. They estimate that there may be as many as 20,000 species of birds on the planet today.

Modern DNA analyses could provide more insight, as using this technique has helped to uncover new species in the past, despite how similarly some birds looked to one another. The trick is figuring out which birds to test and getting large enough samples.

Source: Phys.org

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
NOV 07, 2018
Plants & Animals
NOV 07, 2018
Experts Thought This Octopus Was a Male, and it Just Had Thousands of Babies
Caretakers for what was initially thought to be a ‘male’ octopus named Octavian at the University of Georgia’s Marine Education Center an...
NOV 12, 2018
Plants & Animals
NOV 12, 2018
Newly-Discovered Tea Plant Naturally Exhibits Little or No Caffeine
Tea is perhaps one of nature’s purest flavored drinks, and it can be brewed from not much more than some hot water and lightly-processed tea plant le...
NOV 20, 2018
Plants & Animals
NOV 20, 2018
Stomach of Deceased Sperm Whale That Washed Up in Indonesia Was Filled with Plastic
When a deceased sperm whale washed up on the shore of an Indonesian park, officials sought expert help for answers. Not long after, a necropsy procedure re...
DEC 09, 2018
Earth & The Environment
DEC 09, 2018
Fishermen unite to sue big oil
Almost a month has gone by since fishermen in California and Oregon filed suit against big oil in California's Superior Court, demanding compensation f...
JAN 09, 2019
Plants & Animals
JAN 09, 2019
Study Analyzes Elephant Movement Patterns Relative to Resource Availability
The world and its many landscapes are continuously changing, so it should come as no surprise that wild animals follow suit in order to adjust to the dynam...
JAN 21, 2019
Cannabis Sciences
JAN 21, 2019
Effects of Low-Orbit Space on Growing Cannabis
According to Forbes.com, a company called Space Tango, co-founded by Kris Kimel, is interested in how hemp grows in low-space orbit. So yes, there soon will be "weed", at least in seed form,...
Loading Comments...