What makes us human?
19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
Today, biologists of ever stripe all over the world are racing to find, and name, every living creature, before we destroy them.
We know the most about the creatures with backbones. Multi-cell life has existed only since the Cambrian Explosion, 540 Million years ago. For billions of years before that, life existed as single-celled organisms. Most variety is in single celled organisms. Entirely new kingdoms are being discovered in that area, just in the last 20 years.
We used to think there were plants, animals, and single-celled life. Today, we know single-celled life can live in compressed 300 degree water and in ice, can eat chemicals deep within the earth, and can have energy cycles entirely different than those found in plants and animals. These entirely different ways of making a living divide single-celled life into different kingdoms, just as plants are one kingdom and animals another.
Two new large mammals were discovered in Southeast Asia since 1990. An antelope and a miniature rhino.
The number of species of known amphibians and reptiles in Southeast Asia has gone from eighty-something to one hundred eighty-something.
And so, Adam is still finding and naming the animals.
Related New York Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/11/science/11naming.html?_r=1&hpw