A previously unknown monkey species, the Caqueta titi monkey, was discovered deep in the Amazon jungle in August 2009. A month earlier, two newly identified species of fish were found in the area affected by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Taxonomists today are discovering new species of animals, birds, and fish all the time—some 18,516 new species were discovered in 2007 alone. On average, 50 new species are discovered each day. Quentin Wheeler, of the International Institute of Species Exploration at Arizona State University, said, “Most people do not realize just how incomplete our knowledge of Earth’s species is.”
Just how many species of living things are there in this world? Scientists haven’t been able to determine that number. Estimates range from 2 to 100 million, of which only 1.5 to 1.8 million species have been named. According to one report, there are 5,500 species of mammals; 6,500 species of amphibians; 9,000 species of reptiles; 10,000 species of birds; 31,300 species of fish; 103,000 species of arachnids; 373,000 species of plants, fungi, and protists; and 1,000,000 species of insects.
These mind-boggling figures highlight the indeterminable variety and complexity of life on earth, and clearly attest to the ingenuity, originality, creativity, and power needed to speak all the natural diversity into existence. “God said, ‘Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky. . . . Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds.’ And it was so” (Genesis 1:20,24 NIV).
Celebrating God and His creation, the psalmist said, “O Lord, what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of your creatures” (Psalm 104:24).
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Joshua 2:1-24
Read Psalm 104:1-35. How does it help you to celebrate the Creator and His creation?
Do you believe that all life on earth—millions of species, including humans—is the product of evolution or evolutionary processes or that God created it? Why?