An encyclopedia of all life

A group of eminent natural sciantists from some of the worlds best know instituations (like Harvard, the Smithsonian and the Natural History Museum) have gotten together to launch an ambitious project to build a catalog of the 1.8 Million known species on earth. The Encyclopedia of Life wants to build a dedicated web site for each species within the encyclopedia, each being a base link to as much information on that species that can be found.

So far they have launched with 30,000 species already populated to some degree. With this only covering less than 2% of the total they are now signing up scientists from around the world to take on specific species (or genus, family, order etc) to curate. This will obviously take a long time to get to completion but promises to be an absolutely fantastic research and information source to students, scientists, and just those interested in biology.

The possibilities for future enhancements is exciting as well. I can imagine the paleontologists putting together their own data on past species and linking these into the EOL database showing a timeline of how life developed to today and allowing people to follow chains of evolution forward and backwards through time.

Some more information on The Daily Green.