The complicated journey toward a list of all life on Earth

In our chaotic, rapidly changing modern world, many of us have come to rely on science for objectivity and to provide sense of order. So it may be disconcerting to learn that there is no single, definitive list of all life on Earth. And there never has been.

In this episode, we take you inside the world of taxonomy, where competing lists, rogue taxonomists and recent accusations of anarchy have revealed the messy struggle to classify the world around us.

Featuring Stephen Garnett, professor of conservation and sustainable livelihoods at Charles Darwin University in Australia, and Signe Dean, science and technology editor for The Conversation in Australia.

This episode was written and produced by Katie Flood with assistance from Mend Mariwany. Eloise Stevens does our sound design, and our theme music is by Neeta Sarl. The executive producer is Gemma Ware. Full credits available here. A transcript will be available shortly. Sign up to a free daily newsletter from The Conversation and to The Conversation's Science Wrap newsletter.

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