PerspectiveEcology

Earthworms' place on Earth

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Science  25 Oct 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6464, pp. 425-426
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz5670

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Summary

After revolutionizing our understanding of life on Earth, Charles Darwin studied earthworms. In 1881, he published his last scientific book, a treatise on earthworms (1) whose sales at the time rivaled those of On the Origin of Species. Nearly 140 years later, enthusiasm for earthworms persists, fueled by the recognition of their importance in terrestrial systems as different as backyards and tropical rainforests. On page 480 of this issue, Phillips et al. document an impressive group effort by 141 researchers from 35 countries to develop a global-scale atlas of earthworms (2). Darwin's legacy continues.

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