Diversity of Life: Interactive photo map of biodiversity

The highlight of the weekend
Diversity of Life: Interactive photo map of biodiversity



From dpa

providers on the matter

Man surrounded by monkeys. Horses pangolins up close. An interactive map will show the relationships of all known species worldwide. An exciting thing.

Curious, animalistic, thoughtful or just “nice to know” – the side note for the weekend.

(Image: koldunova – stock.adobe.com)

Dogs are close to bears and meerkats are close to muskrats. Who would have thought it? Such globally occurring species relationships can be explored on a new interactive map.

The examples are just a small selection of what scientists at the German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research have collected as part of the Lifegate project.

The digital map includes all 2.6 million known species on planet Earth and shows “all the diversity of life in thousands of photographs”.

With the slider along the rows

The map is not geographical, but a so-called taxonomic one. It does not show distribution areas, but the closest relatives of a species. To do this, you use a slider along the biological series of species, genus, family, order, class, tribe, and domain. This allows you to zoom in and out on the map.

The names of animals, plants or fungi can be entered into a search field. For example, one might discover that horses are closely related to pangolins or tapirs, or that humans are more closely related to common chimpanzees and bonobos.

result of years of work

Scientists have been working on the global map of biodiversity since 2008. They are based on natural family trees, which biologists describe in so-called phylogenies.

So far, about 6,000 people from around the world have contributed animal photos to the non-commercial project, but photos of some species are still missing. If you want, you can support the project with images.

In the future, it should be possible to select different views for each item, including detailed shots or prints.

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