Between 1.5 million and 2 million species have been named, and a deluge of what could be millions more appears imminent. As a result, scientists have once again been seized by 18th-century paroxysms of fear that the field of classification could descend into chaos with precious information lost. For while the Linnaean method for organizing life is still followed and has held up well, no one oversees what has become the rapid and sometimes haphazard proliferation of species names….Here's a more in-depth look at how to classify various species; looks like a barrel of laughs, that job.
A major reason that no one has kept track of all the species names is the surprising Wild West sort of freedom that allows names to spring up pretty much anywhere. Let's say a person discovers what she believes is a new species. If she publishes a description of the organism with her newly created name for it, by the internationally accepted rules of science, the name officially stands. But while she might publish in a carefully peer-reviewed scientific journal, she might also publish it, as Dr. Polaszek lamented, "in the little local journal that your neighbor produces in his garage."