Earth is a home to as many as 8.7 million species of animals and plants, but more than 86 per cent of those species are still to be discovered and identified, scientists at Census of Marine Life announced.
Of the 8.7 million species, 6.5 million species are found on land and 2.2 million in the depths of oceans.
Released figures also claims that 86 per cent land species are yet to be identified, while the figure for of those in the oceans is 91 per cent.
It is the first time when scientists have given a precise figure about the number of species on Earth. Previously, the total number of species was estimated to fall somewhere between 3 million and 100 million.
Commenting on the topic, co-author Boris Worm of Dalhousie University said, “This work deduces the most basic number needed to describe our living biosphere.”
According to Census of Marine Life scientists, it will consume a further 1,200 years to discover and identify all the remaining species of life on Earth.
That means that many species may become extinct even before we come to know of their existence, and of their unique function in ecosystems.