March 21, 2006
All we can say is there are most certainly a lot and no one has any idea of how many. Close to two million have actually been collected, studied and undergone some taxonomic classification. Deciding where they fit and giving them a scientific description and a Latin name.
Various biologists, naturalists and environmentalists estimate there could be up to 100 million species -- with obviuously 98% ofthem therefore still waiting to be discovered. Most will be bacteria, fungi, insects, beetles, etc. Plus totally weird things we've just been finding in last two decades -- the deep seabed life around volcanic vents thriving without sunlight and oxygen. Bacteria and perhaps lichens living underneath ice sheets.
And of course scientists are still discovering entirely new species of birds and large mammals -- which were all thought to have been discovered as recently as 25 years ago....