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SCIENCE IN THE NEWS DAILY

86 Percent of Earth's Species Still Unknown?

from National Geographic News

Even after centuries of effort, some 86 percent of Earth's species have yet to be fully described, according to new study that predicts our planet is home to 8.7 million species.

That means scientists have cataloged less than 15 percent of species now alive--and current extinction rates mean many unknown organisms will wink out of existence before they can be recorded.

The study was driven by a simple question: "Are we within reach of finding all species, or are we way off?" said study co-author Boris Worm of Canada's Dalhousie University.

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PODCASTS: Expanding With the Cosmos

Using the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ATC), a 6.5-meter microwave collector in Chile, cosmologists are piecing together the early history of the known universe. In an exclusive American Scientist interview, Arthur Kosowsky—a member of the ATC team and a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh—discusses how he is using ATC to reach back in time billions of years to search for gravitational waves that could verify inflation and reveal unprecedented details about how the cosmos was born.

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