Taxonomy is a hierarchical system for classifying and identifying organisms. This system was developed by Swedish scientist Carolus Linnaeus in the 18th century.
Linnaeus's taxonomy system has two main features that contribute to its ease of use in naming and grouping organisms. The first is the use of binomial nomenclature. This means that an organism's scientific name is comprised of a combination of two terms. These terms are the genus name and the species or epithet. Both of these terms are italicized and the genus name is also capitalized.
For example, the scientific name for humans is Homo sapiens. The genus name is Homo and the species is sapiens. These terms are unique and no other species can have this same name.
The second feature of Linnaeus's taxonomy system that simplifies organism classification is the ordering of species into broad categories. There are seven major categories: Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species.
A good aid for remembering these categories is the mnemonic device: Keep Plates Clean Or Family Gets Sick.
Some of these categories can be further divided into intermediate categories such as subphyla, suborders, superfamilies, and superclasses. An example of this taxonomy scheme is:
Below is a list of organisms and their classification in this taxonomy system using the major categories. Notice how closely related dogs and wolves are. They are similar in every aspect except species name.
Taxonomy of Organisms
|Brown Bear||House Cat||Dog||Killer Whale||Wolf|
|Species||Ursus arctos||Felis catus||Canis familiaris||Orcinus orca||Canis lupus|