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Categorising all animals – a snip at over US$200 billion

How much would it cost to describe the entire animal kingdom? Well over US$200 billion, according to Fernando Carbayo and Antonio Marques from the University of Sao Paulo.

Based on a survey of 44 Brazilian taxonomists (representing 9% of the country’s total), the duo calculated the average cost of training, funding and equipping people in the field. This might seem like an unrepresentative sample, but Brazil contains 10% of the world’s animal species and the country’s taxonomists are among the world’s most prolific. Their salaries also come close to the global average for professors.


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