Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

The Library of Life on Earth

For hundreds of years the scientific community has attempted to classify and categorise every living species on Earth. (Pixabay/Brusheezy/ABC Diane Dean).

Robyn Williams, The library of life on Earth, ABC Science Show, July 2019

We’ve now described about 1.75 million species on our planet – but it’s believed there are millions more that we haven’t classified yet.

Completing an inventory of living things on Earth has been an elusive and long-running endeavour for scientists.

But researchers believe new genetic tools may hold the key to finally completing this library of life.

Those tools may also allow us to compile an encyclopedia of information about each individual species – and they’re even allowing scientists to peer back into the past.

Listen now


Dr Mark EldridgePrincipal Research Scientist, The Australian Museum, Sydney

Dr Rebecca JohnsonChief Scientist and Director of the The Australian Museums Research Institute, The Australian Museum, Sydney

Professor Paul HebertDirector of the Centre for Biodiversity Genomes, University of Guelph, Canada

Professor Harris LewinProfessor of Evolution and Ecology, and Vice Chancellor for Research, University of California, Davis

Professor Katherine BelovProfessor of Comparative Genomics, and Pro-Vice Chancellor Global Engagement, University of Sydney

Dr Kieren MitchellPost-doctoral researcher at the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, University of Adelaide

Associate Professor Jeremy Austin, Deputy Director of the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, University of Adelaide

Professor Alan CooperDirector of the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, University of Adelaide

Dr Laura WeyrichAustralian Centre for Ancient DNA, University of Adelaide

Council of Australasian Museum Directors c/o Mr Brian Oldman, South Australian Museum PO Box 234 Adelaide, South Australia 5001 Australia, © CAMD 2022
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