New species wait an average 21 years to be classified

11/19/2012 | DiscoverMagazine.com

Specimens from all the kingdoms of life are on the shelves of museums for 20.7 years on average before they are recognized as new species, according to a study by Benoît Fontaine of the Natural History of Museum in Paris. Fontaine cited several factors that can speed up the process, such as recent revision of a group's evolutionary relationships. Findings also showed that the best-studied groups, which include insects and plants, stay on shelves longest compared with other groups.

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