Wiki… species

Those Wikipedia people never stop to catch their breath. Every time I look up they’ve launched yet another flypaper knowledge collaboration. Sometimes I want to tell them, “there’s a whole lot of knowledge out there… you don’t have to do it all at once.” They’ve got wikipedias in Saxon and wiktionaries in Sanskrit. Now they’ve got a project to organize information about all the life forms on the planet: Wikispecies. We’ve got URLs for your address in cyberspace, GeoURLs for your location on the planet, and now, here is your Wikispecies taxonomic URL (taxoURL?) that locates you on the tree of life:

Homo sapiens

It’s a nice idea, and it seems easier to navigate than the other similar tool I’ve used, the NIH’s NCBI Taxonomy browser. Like a lot of the Wikipedia foundation’s projects, it’s currently very thin on content. But I suppose it will grow like a weed, as all things wiki tend to.

There is a complete list of the various wiki projects on (what else?) Metawiki.

2 thoughts on “Wiki… species”

  1. Don’t get me started on those Wiki people! Not to be a complete science wonk (which I am), but a “scientific” encyclopedia compiled by non-scientists is about as useful as a multivariable calculus textbook written by the English Department – great grammar, totally comprehensible, keeps the door from closing. If you want a species browser, better to go to the tree of life ( or animal diversity web ( or the Berkeley Museum of Paleontology (

    It seems like the Wiki’s have become more of a power trip for the organizers than an actual resource. I mean! Regnum?! Classis?! Phylogenists gave up on most of the classic hierarchical grouping over a decade ago with the first molecular phylogenies. Even the term “species” is highly contested for many organisms.

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