I wonder if this exists already - a central electronic respository which contains information on each species of animal (and plant, fungus, etc) known to humankind. I would imagine that such an information store would be very useful. For instance, you could display an evolutionary tree, which is how I got to thinking about this database. It would be sensible if detailed information on each species was stored elsewhere, but the database should contain links to such sites. I would want it to contain at least the following information:
|Name||Scientific name of species|
|Common Name||Common names for the species, each name a new field|
|Ancestor||Suggested direct ancestor that the species evolved from (multiple fields)|
|Ancestory Weight||A weighting given to the probability of evolution from a given ancestor|
|Date of Emergence||Suggested timeframe for the first emergence of the species on the planet|
|Habitat||Habitats that the species is found in|
|Locality||Regions of the planet that the species live in|
|Description||Descriptions of the species|
|Images||Pictures of members of the species|
|Links||Links to further information on that species|
I'm sure that much other information would be useful. I'm not a biologist so I'm not certain of the details that they would use. However, I'm sure it would help to find relationships between species and provide an overview of the state of our knowledge as well as assist in pointing out areas where further research is greatly required.
I'll trawl the web and look for anything like this already.
The Tree of Life may be what I am looking for!