A first draft of the “tree of life” for the roughly 2.3 million named species of animals, plants, fungi and microbes — from platypuses to puffballs — has been released.
A collaborative effort among eleven institutions, the tree depicts the relationships among living things as they diverged from one another over time, tracing back to the beginning of life on Earth more than 3.5 billion years ago.
Daniel Atha put on his waders and ventured slowly into the Pool, near West 103rd Street, one of several bodies of water in Central Park. He was after a broad-leaved yellow pond lily and an iris of indeterminate species.
He carefully collected the two specimens, along with a baseball bearing Derek Jeter’s signature. After he studied the iris for a moment, his face brightened. He thought the flower might not … Read more
There are roughly 3 trillion trees on Earth—more than seven times the number previously estimated—according to a tally by an international team of scientists. The study also finds that human activity is detrimental to tree abundance worldwide. Around 15 billion trees are cut down each year, the researchers estimate; since the onset of agriculture about 12,000 years ago, the number of trees worldwide has dropped by 46%.