Canberra, June 13 : A biologist has suggested that due to lack of proper research, entire populations of unknown species may have already been wiped off the face of the Earth.
According to a report in The Australian, Australian marine biologist Elvira Poloczanska has come forward with this hypothesis, which suggests species that have not been found as yet, may have already become extinct.
"I think it's possible. We haven't even discovered all the animals in the ocean," she said.
She said that compared to land animals, marine creatures responded to changes in climate more quickly, but research into ocean life was limited.
It would not be long until new species of animals would be discovered - after they have been wiped out, according to University of Queensland marine scientist Ove Hoegh-Guldberg.
"We know that they're out there because we keep on discovering new species. That's going to be one of the tragedies of our current pathway," said Professor Hoegh-Guldberg.
"It's a horrific thing to think about - an undiscovered gem disappears before we find it. But it's already happening," he added.
According to Dr Poloczanska, more money from governments should be put into researching the animals they were trying to protect from commercial fishing and whaling.
"Certain issues are (prioritised) higher than others. A lot of people are concerned about whaling and illegal fishing," she said.
But she said the cost of marine research was very high and it was much cheaper to study land-based animals than ocean-dwellers, a major reason for much of the marine life being unexplored.