biological classification
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In
biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanisms, Development ...

biology
, taxonomy () is the
scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the universe."... modern science is a discovery as well as an invention. ...

scientific
study of naming, defining ( circumscribing) and classifying groups of biological
organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All organisms are composed of cells (cell theory). Organisms are classified by taxonomy (biology), taxonomy into groups such as Multice ...

organism
s based on shared characteristics. Organisms are grouped into
taxa In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanism ...
(singular: taxon) and these groups are given a
taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), circumscribing) and classifying groups of biological organisms based on shared characteristics. Organisms are gro ...
; groups of a given rank can be aggregated to form a more inclusive group of higher rank, thus creating a taxonomic hierarchy. The principal ranks in modern use are
domain Domain may refer to: Mathematics *Domain of a function, the set of input values for which the (total) function is defined **Domain of definition of a partial function **Natural domain of a partial function **Domain of holomorphy of a function *Doma ...
,
kingdom Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female monarch Taxonomy * Kingdom (biology), a category in biological taxonomy Arts an ...
,
phylum In biology, a phylum (; plural The plural (sometimes list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ), in many languages, is one of the values of the grammatical number, grammatical category of number. The plural of a noun typically denotes a q ...
(''division'' is sometimes used in botany in place of ''phylum''),
class Class or The Class may refer to: Common uses not otherwise categorized * Class (biology), a taxonomic rank * Class (knowledge representation), a collection of individuals or objects * Class (philosophy), an analytical concept used differently f ...
,
order Order or ORDER or Orders may refer to: * Orderliness Orderliness is associated with other qualities such as cleanliness Cleanliness is both the abstract state of being clean and free from germs, dirt, trash, or waste, and the habit of achieving a ...
,
family In , family (from la, familia) is a of people related either by (by recognized birth) or (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose of families is to maintain the well-being of its members and of society. Ideally, families would off ...
,
genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure ...
, and
species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individu ...

species
. The Swedish botanist
Carl Linnaeus Carl Linnaeus (; 23 May 1707 – 10 January 1778), also known after his as Carl von Linné, p. 171. (), was a Swedish botanist, zoologist, taxonomist, and physician who formalised , the modern system of naming organisms. He is known as the ...

Carl Linnaeus
is regarded as the founder of the current system of taxonomy, as he developed a ranked system known as
Linnaean taxonomy Linnaean taxonomy can mean either of two related concepts: # the particular form of biological classification (taxonomy) set up by Carl Linnaeus Carl Linnaeus (; 23 May 1707 – 10 January 1778), also known after his Nobility#Ennoblemen ...
for categorizing organisms and
binominal nomenclature In Taxonomy (biology), taxonomy, binomial nomenclature ("two-term naming system"), also called nomenclature ("two-name naming system") or binary nomenclature, is a formal system of naming species of living things by giving each a name composed ...
for naming organisms. With advances in the theory, data and analytical technology of biological systematics, the Linnaean system has transformed into a system of modern biological classification intended to reflect the
evolution Evolution is change in the heritable Heredity, also called inheritance or biological inheritance, is the passing on of Phenotypic trait, traits from parents to their offspring; either through asexual reproduction or sexual reproduction, ...

evolution
ary relationships among organisms, both living and extinct.


Definition

The exact definition of taxonomy varies from source to source, but the core of the discipline remains: the conception, naming, and classification of groups of organisms. As points of reference, recent definitions of taxonomy are presented below: # Theory and practice of grouping individuals into species, arranging species into larger groups, and giving those groups names, thus producing a classification. # A field of science (and major component of
systematics Biological Biology is the natural science Natural science is a branch of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), or ...
) that encompasses description, identification, nomenclature, and classification # The science of classification, in biology the arrangement of organisms into a classification # "The science of classification as applied to living organisms, including study of means of formation of species, etc." # "The analysis of an organism's characteristics for the purpose of classification" # "Systematics studies
phylogeny A phylogenetic tree (also phylogeny or evolutionary tree Felsenstein J. (2004). ''Inferring Phylogenies'' Sinauer Associates: Sunderland, MA.) is a branching diagram A diagram is a symbolic representation Representation may refer to: Law a ...

phylogeny
to provide a pattern that can be translated into the classification and names of the more inclusive field of taxonomy" (listed as a desirable but unusual definition) The varied definitions either place taxonomy as a sub-area of systematics (definition 2), invert that relationship (definition 6), or appear to consider the two terms synonymous. There is some disagreement as to whether
biological nomenclature Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organismos'') is any individual contiguous system that embodies the Life#Biology, prope ...
is considered a part of taxonomy (definitions 1 and 2), or a part of systematics outside taxonomy. For example, definition 6 is paired with the following definition of systematics that places nomenclature outside taxonomy: * ''Systematics'': "The study of the identification, taxonomy, and nomenclature of organisms, including the classification of living things with regard to their natural relationships and the study of variation and the evolution of taxa". A whole set of terms including taxonomy,
systematic biology Biological systematics is the study of the diversification of living forms, both past and present, and the relationships among living things through time. Relationships are visualized as evolutionary trees (synonyms: cladograms, phylogenetic tr ...
, systematics,
biosystematics Biological Biology is the natural science Natural science is a branch of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), or ...
, scientific classification, biological classification, and
phylogenetics In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanisms ...

phylogenetics
have at times had overlapping meanings – sometimes the same, sometimes slightly different, but always related and intersecting. The broadest meaning of "taxonomy" is used here. The term itself was introduced in 1813 by
de Candolle Augustin Pyramus (or Pyrame) de Candolle (, , ; 4 February 17789 September 1841) was a Swiss Swiss may refer to: * the adjectival form of Switzerland *Swiss people Places *Swiss, Missouri *Swiss, North Carolina *Swiss, West Virginia *Swiss, W ...
, in his ''Théorie élémentaire de la botanique''.


Monograph and taxonomic revision

A taxonomic revision or taxonomic review is a novel analysis of the variation patterns in a particular
taxon In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanism ...
. This analysis may be executed on the basis of any combination of the various available kinds of characters, such as morphological, anatomical, palynological, biochemical and genetic. A
monograph A monograph is a specialist work of writing (in contrast to reference work A reference work is a work such as a book A book is a medium for recording information Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncertainty; it a ...
or complete revision is a revision that is comprehensive for a taxon for the information given at a particular time, and for the entire world. Other (partial) revisions may be restricted in the sense that they may only use some of the available character sets or have a limited spatial scope. A revision results in a conformation of or new insights in the relationships between the subtaxa within the taxon under study, which may result in a change in the classification of these subtaxa, the identification of new subtaxa, or the merger of previous subtaxa.


Alpha and beta taxonomy

The term "alpha taxonomy" is primarily used today to refer to the discipline of finding, describing, and naming
taxa In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanism ...
, particularly species. In earlier literature, the term had a different meaning, referring to morphological taxonomy, and the products of research through the end of the 19th century.
William Bertram Turrill William Bertram Turrill FRS OBE FLS (14 June 1890 – 15 December 1961) was an English botanist. W B Turrill's mathematical classification of leaf shapes Education He was born in Woodstock, Oxfordshire to William Banbury and Thirza Mary (née ...
introduced the term "alpha taxonomy" in a series of papers published in 1935 and 1937 in which he discussed the philosophy and possible future directions of the discipline of taxonomy.
... there is an increasing desire amongst taxonomists to consider their problems from wider viewpoints, to investigate the possibilities of closer co-operation with their cytological, ecological and genetics colleagues and to acknowledge that some revision or expansion, perhaps of a drastic nature, of their aims and methods, may be desirable ... Turrill (1935) has suggested that while accepting the older invaluable taxonomy, based on structure, and conveniently designated "alpha", it is possible to glimpse a far-distant taxonomy built upon as wide a basis of morphological and physiological facts as possible, and one in which "place is found for all observational and experimental data relating, even if indirectly, to the constitution, subdivision, origin, and behaviour of species and other taxonomic groups". Ideals can, it may be said, never be completely realized. They have, however, a great value of acting as permanent stimulants, and if we have some, even vague, ideal of an "omega" taxonomy we may progress a little way down the Greek alphabet. Some of us please ourselves by thinking we are now groping in a "beta" taxonomy.
Turrill thus explicitly excludes from alpha taxonomy various areas of study that he includes within taxonomy as a whole, such as ecology, physiology, genetics, and cytology. He further excludes phylogenetic reconstruction from alpha taxonomy. Later authors have used the term in a different sense, to mean the delimitation of species (not subspecies or taxa of other ranks), using whatever investigative techniques are available, and including sophisticated computational or laboratory techniques. Thus,
Ernst Mayr Ernst Walter Mayr (; 5 July 1904 – 3 February 2005) was one of the 20th century's leading evolutionary biologists File:Francesco Redi.jpg, Francesco Redi, the founder of biology, is recognized to be one of the greatest biologists of all ti ...
in 1968 defined "beta taxonomy" as the classification of ranks higher than species.
An understanding of the biological meaning of variation and of the evolutionary origin of groups of related species is even more important for the second stage of taxonomic activity, the sorting of species into groups of relatives ("taxa") and their arrangement in a hierarchy of higher categories. This activity is what the term classification denotes; it is also referred to as "beta taxonomy".


Microtaxonomy and macrotaxonomy

How species should be defined in a particular group of organisms gives rise to practical and theoretical problems that are referred to as the
species problem The species problem is the set of questions that arises when biologist Francesco Redi, the founder of biology, is recognized to be one of the greatest biologists of all time A biologist is a professional who has specialized knowledge in the fie ...
. The scientific work of deciding how to define species has been called microtaxonomy. By extension, macrotaxonomy is the study of groups at the higher
taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), circumscribing) and classifying groups of biological organisms based on shared characteristics. Organisms are gro ...
s subgenus and above.


History

While some descriptions of taxonomic history attempt to date taxonomy to ancient civilizations, a truly scientific attempt to classify organisms did not occur until the 18th century. Earlier works were primarily descriptive and focused on plants that were useful in agriculture or medicine. There are a number of stages in this scientific thinking. Early taxonomy was based on arbitrary criteria, the so-called "artificial systems", including Linnaeus's system of sexual classification for plants (Of course, Linnaeus's classification of animals was entitled "Systema Naturae" ("the System of Nature"), implying that he, at least, believed that it was more than an "artificial system"). Later came systems based on a more complete consideration of the characteristics of taxa, referred to as "natural systems", such as those of
de JussieuDe Jussieu, the name of a French people, French family which came into prominence towards the close of the sixteenth century, and was known for a century and a half for the botanists it produced. The following are its more eminent members: *Antoine ...

de Jussieu
(1789), de Candolle (1813) and Bentham and Hooker (1862–1863). These classifications described empirical patterns and were pre-
evolution Evolution is change in the heritable Heredity, also called inheritance or biological inheritance, is the passing on of Phenotypic trait, traits from parents to their offspring; either through asexual reproduction or sexual reproduction, ...

evolution
ary in thinking. The publication of
Charles Darwin Charles Robert Darwin (; ; 12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English , and , best known for his contributions to the science of . His proposition that all species of life have descended from is now widely accepted and cons ...

Charles Darwin
's ''
On the Origin of Species ''On the Origin of Species'' (or, more completely, ''On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life''),The book's full original title was ''On the Origin of Species by Me ...
'' (1859) led to a new explanation for classifications, based on evolutionary relationships. This was the concept of phyletic systems, from 1883 onwards. This approach was typified by those of Eichler (1883) and Engler (1886–1892). The advent of
cladistic Cladistics (; ) is an approach to Taxonomy (biology), biological classification in which organisms are categorized in groups ("clades") based on hypotheses of most recent common ancestry. The evidence for hypothesized relationships is typically ...
methodology in the 1970s led to classifications based on the sole criterion of
monophyly 300px, A cladogram of the primates, showing a ''monophyletic'' taxon: ''the simians'' (in yellow); a ''paraphyletic'' taxon: ''the prosimians'' (in cyan, including the red patch); and a ''polyphyletic'' group: ''the night-active primates, i.e., ...
, supported by the presence of
synapomorphies 279px, trait states. In phylogenetics, apomorphy and synapomorphy refer to derived characters of a clade A clade (; from grc, , ''klados'', "branch"), also known as a monophyletic group or natural group, is a group of organisms that are mon ...
. Since then, the evidentiary basis has been expanded with data from
molecular genetics Molecular genetics is a sub-field of biology that addresses how differences in the structures or expression of DNA molecules manifests as variation among organisms. Molecular genetics often applies an "investigative approach" to determine the ...
that for the most part complements traditional
morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines * Morphology (archaeology), study of the shapes or forms of artifacts * Morphology (astronomy), study of the shape of astronomical objects such as nebulae, galaxies ...
.


Pre-Linnaean


Early taxonomists

Naming and classifying human surroundings likely begun with the onset of
language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful divisions between self and other, private and public, and ...

language
. Distinguishing poisonous plants from edible plants is integral to the survival of . Medicinal plant illustrations show up in Egyptian wall paintings from c. 1500 BC, indicating that the uses of different species were understood and that a basic taxonomy was in place.Manktelow, M. (2010
History of Taxonomy
. Lecture from Dept. of Systematic Biology,
Uppsala University Uppsala University ( sv, Uppsala universitet) is a research university in Uppsala, Sweden Sweden (; sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic countries, Nordic country in Northern ...
.


Ancient times

Organisms were first classified by
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental quest ...

Aristotle
(
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in . Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of 2021; is its largest and capital city, followed by . Situated on the southern tip of the , ...

Greece
, 384–322 BC) during his stay on the Island of Lesbos. He classified beings by their parts, or in modern terms ''attributes'', such as having live birth, having four legs, laying eggs, having blood, or being warm-bodied. He divided all living things into two groups: plants and animals. Some of his groups of animals, such as ''Anhaima'' (animals without blood, translated as
invertebrate Invertebrates are animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals Heterotroph, consume organic material, Cellular resp ...
s) and ''Enhaima'' (animals with blood, roughly the
vertebrate Vertebrates () comprise all species of animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals Heterotroph, consume organic ma ...
s), as well as groups like the
shark Sharks are a group of elasmobranch Elasmobranchii () is a subclass of Chondrichthyes or cartilaginous fish, including shark Sharks are a group of elasmobranch fish characterized by a Chondrichthyes#Skeleton, cartilaginous skeleton, ...

shark
s and
cetacean Cetaceans (from la, cetus Cetus () is a constellation, sometimes called 'the whale' in English. The Cetus (mythology), Cetus was a sea monster in Greek mythology which both Perseus and Heracles needed to slay. Cetus is in the region of the s ...
s, are still commonly used today. His student
Theophrastus Theophrastus (; grc-gre, Θεόφραστος ; c. 371c. 287 BC), a Greek native of Eresos Eresos (; el, Ερεσός; grc, Ἔρεσος) and its twin beach village Skala Eresou are located in the southwest part of the Greek island of Le ...

Theophrastus
(Greece, 370–285 BC) carried on this tradition, mentioning some 500 plants and their uses in his '' Historia Plantarum''. Again, several plant groups currently still recognized can be traced back to Theophrastus, such as ''
Cornus ''Cornus'' is a of about 30–60 of s in the , commonly known as dogwoods, which can generally be distinguished by their blossoms, berries, and distinctive bark. Most are s or s, but a few species are nearly herbaceous perennial sub ...
'', ''
Crocus ''Crocus'' (English plural: crocuses or croci) is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life an ...

Crocus
'', and ''
Narcissus Narcissus may refer to: Biology * Narcissus (plant), ''Narcissus'' (plant), a genus containing daffodils and others People * Narcissus (mythology), Greek mythological character * Narcissus (wrestler) (2nd century), assassin of the Roman emperor Co ...
''.


Medieval

Taxonomy in the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of w ...
was largely based on the Aristotelian system, with additions concerning the philosophical and existential order of creatures. This included concepts such as the
great chain of being The Great Chain of Being is a hierarchical structure of all matter and life, thought by medieval Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, ...
in the Western scholastic tradition, again deriving ultimately from Aristotle. The Aristotelian system did not classify plants or
fungi A fungus (plural: fungi or funguses) is any member of the group of Eukaryote, eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and Mold (fungus), molds, as well as the more familiar mushrooms. These organisms are classified as ...

fungi
, due to the lack of microscopes at the time, as his ideas were based on arranging the complete world in a single continuum, as per the ''scala naturae'' (the Natural Ladder). This, as well, was taken into consideration in the great chain of being. Advances were made by scholars such as
Procopius Procopius of Caesarea ( grc-gre, Προκόπιος ὁ Καισαρεύς ''Prokópios ho Kaisareús''; la, Procopius Caesariensis; – after 565) was a prominent late antique Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related t ...
,
Timotheos of GazaTimotheus of Gaza ( el, Τιμόθεος ὁ Γαζαῖος), sometimes referred to as Timothy of Gaza, was a Greek grammarian active during the reign of Anastasius, i.e. 491-518. He is the author of a book on animals which may have been one of th ...
, Demetrios Pepagomenos, and
Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican Dominican may refer to: * Someone or something from or related to the Dominican Republic The Dominican Republic ( ; es, ...

Thomas Aquinas
. Medieval thinkers used abstract philosophical and logical categorizations more suited to abstract philosophy than to pragmatic taxonomy.


Renaissance and early modern

During the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in m ...

Renaissance
and the
Age of Enlightenment The Age of Enlightenment (also known as the Age of Reason or simply the Enlightenment); ger, Aufklärung, "Enlightenment"; it, L'Illuminismo, "Enlightenment"; pl, Oświecenie , "Enlightenment"; pt, Iluminismo, "Enlightenment"; es, link=n ...
, categorizing organisms became more prevalent, and taxonomic works became ambitious enough to replace the ancient texts. This is sometimes credited to the development of sophisticated optical lenses, which allowed the morphology of organisms to be studied in much greater detail. One of the earliest authors to take advantage of this leap in technology was the Italian physician
Andrea Cesalpino Andrea Cesalpino ( Latinized as Andreas Cæsalpinus) (6 June 1524 – 23 February 1603) was an Italian physician A physician (American English), medical practitioner (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English), medical d ...

Andrea Cesalpino
(1519–1603), who has been called "the first taxonomist". His
magnum opus 's ''The Creation of Adam ''The Creation of Adam'' () is a fresco Fresco (plural ''frescos'' or ''frescoes'') is a technique of Mural, mural painting executed upon freshly laid ("wet") lime plaster. Water is used as the vehicle for the dry-po ...

magnum opus
''De Plantis'' came out in 1583, and described more than 1500 plant species. Two large plant families that he first recognized are still in use today: the
Asteraceae The family (biology), family Asteraceae, alternatively Compositae, consists of over 32,000 known species of flowering plants in over 1,900 genera within the Order (biology), order Asterales. Commonly referred to as the aster, daisy, composite, or ...

Asteraceae
and
Brassicaceae Brassicaceae () or Cruciferae () is a medium-sized and economically important Family (biology), family of flowering plants commonly known as the mustards, the crucifers, or the cabbage family. Most are herbaceous plants, some shrubs, with simple, ...
. Then in the 17th century
John Ray John Ray FRS (29 November 1627 – 17 January 1705) was an English naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms, including animals, fungus, fungi, and plants, in their natural environment, leaning more towards ob ...

John Ray
(
England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of England and the to the southwest. England is separated from by the to the east and the to the south. The country cover ...

England
, 1627–1705) wrote many important taxonomic works. Arguably his greatest accomplishment was ''Methodus Plantarum Nova'' (1682), in which he published details of over 18,000 plant species. At the time, his classifications were perhaps the most complex yet produced by any taxonomist, as he based his taxa on many combined characters. The next major taxonomic works were produced by
Joseph Pitton de Tournefort Joseph Pitton de Tournefort (5 June 1656 – 28 December 1708) was a French botanist Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic ent ...
(France, 1656–1708). His work from 1700, ''Institutiones Rei Herbariae'', included more than 9000 species in 698 genera, which directly influenced Linnaeus, as it was the text he used as a young student.


Linnaean era

The Swedish botanist
Carl Linnaeus Carl Linnaeus (; 23 May 1707 – 10 January 1778), also known after his as Carl von Linné, p. 171. (), was a Swedish botanist, zoologist, taxonomist, and physician who formalised , the modern system of naming organisms. He is known as the ...

Carl Linnaeus
(1707–1778) ushered in a new era of taxonomy. With his major works ''
Systema Naturae ' (originally in Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Rom ...
'' 1st Edition in 1735, ''
Species Plantarum ' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, i ...
'' in 1753, and ''Systema Naturae'' 10th Edition, he revolutionized modern taxonomy. His works implemented a standardized binomial naming system for animal and plant species, which proved to be an elegant solution to a chaotic and disorganized taxonomic literature. He not only introduced the standard of class, order, genus, and species, but also made it possible to identify plants and animals from his book, by using the smaller parts of the flower. Thus the Linnaean system was born, and is still used in essentially the same way today as it was in the 18th century. Currently, plant and animal taxonomists regard Linnaeus' work as the "starting point" for valid names (at 1753 and 1758 respectively). Names published before these dates are referred to as "pre-Linnaean", and not considered valid (with the exception of spiders published in ''
Svenska Spindlar The book ' or ' ( Swedish and Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the powe ...
''). Even taxonomic names published by Linnaeus himself before these dates are considered pre-Linnaean.


Modern system of classification

A pattern of groups nested within groups was specified by Linnaeus' classifications of plants and animals, and these patterns began to be represented as dendrograms of the animal and plant kingdoms toward the end of the 18th century, well before Charles Darwin's ''On the Origin of Species'' was published. The pattern of the "Natural System" did not entail a generating process, such as evolution, but may have implied it, inspiring early transmutationist thinkers. Among early works exploring the idea of a
transmutation of species Transmutation of species and transformism are 18th and 19th-century evolutionary ideas about the change of one species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical ...
were
Erasmus Darwin Erasmus Robert Darwin (12 December 173118 April 1802) was an English physician. One of the key thinkers of the Midlands Enlightenment, he was also a natural philosophy, natural philosopher, physiology, physiologist, Society for Effecting the A ...
's (Charles Darwin's grandfather's) 1796 '' Zoönomia'' and
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, chevalier de Lamarck (1 August 1744 – 18 December 1829), often known simply as Lamarck (; ), was a French naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms, including animals, fu ...

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck
's '' Philosophie Zoologique'' of 1809. The idea was popularized in the Anglophone world by the speculative but widely read ''
Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation ''Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation'' is an 1844 work of speculative natural history Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms, including animals, fungus, fungi, and plants, in their natural environment, leaning mor ...
'', published anonymously by Robert Chambers in 1844. With Darwin's theory, a general acceptance quickly appeared that a classification should reflect the Darwinian principle of
common descent Common descent is a concept in evolutionary biology Evolutionary biology is the subfield of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chem ...
.
Tree of life#REDIRECT Tree of life The tree of life is a fundamental widespread mytheme or archetype in many of the world's mythology, mythologies, religion, religious and philosophy, philosophical traditions. It is closely related to the concept of the s ...
representations became popular in scientific works, with known fossil groups incorporated. One of the first modern groups tied to fossil ancestors was
birds Birds are a group of s constituting the Aves , characterised by s, toothless beaked jaws, the of eggs, a high rate, a four-chambered , and a strong yet lightweight . Birds live worldwide and range in size from the to the . There ar ...

birds
. Using the then newly discovered fossils of ''
Archaeopteryx ''Archaeopteryx'' ( "old wing"), sometimes referred to by its German name, ' ("original bird" or "first bird"), is a genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of thi ...

Archaeopteryx
'' and ''
Hesperornis ''Hesperornis'' (meaning "western bird") is a genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification ...

Hesperornis
'',
Thomas Henry Huxley Thomas Henry Huxley (4 May 1825 – 29 June 1895) was an English biologist Francesco Redi, the founder of biology, is recognized to be one of the greatest biologists of all time A biologist is a professional who has specialized knowledge ...

Thomas Henry Huxley
pronounced that they had evolved from dinosaurs, a group formally named by
Richard Owen Sir Richard Owen (20 July 1804 – 18 December 1892) was an English biologist, comparative anatomist and paleontologist. Despite being a controversial figure, Owen is generally considered to have been an outstanding naturalist with a remark ...

Richard Owen
in 1842. The resulting description, that of dinosaurs "giving rise to" or being "the ancestors of" birds, is the essential hallmark of evolutionary taxonomic thinking. As more and more fossil groups were found and recognized in the late 19th and early 20th centuries,
palaeontologists Paleontology (), also spelled palaeontology or palæontology, is the scientific study of life that existed prior to, and sometimes including, the start of the Holocene The Holocene ( ) is the current Geologic time scale, geological epoch. ...
worked to understand the history of animals through the ages by linking together known groups. With the modern evolutionary synthesis of the early 1940s, an essentially modern understanding of the evolution of the major groups was in place. As evolutionary taxonomy is based on Linnaean taxonomic ranks, the two terms are largely interchangeable in modern use. The
cladistic Cladistics (; ) is an approach to Taxonomy (biology), biological classification in which organisms are categorized in groups ("clades") based on hypotheses of most recent common ancestry. The evidence for hypothesized relationships is typically ...
method has emerged since the 1960s. In 1958,
Julian Huxley Sir Julian Sorell Huxley (22 June 1887 – 14 February 1975) was an English evolutionary biologist, eugenicist, and internationalist. He was a proponent of natural selection Natural selection is the differential survival and reprodu ...
used the term ''clad''e. Later, in 1960, Cain and Harrison introduced the term ''cladistic''. The salient feature is arranging taxa in a hierarchical
evolutionary tree , based on completely sequenced genomes. A phylogenetic tree (also phylogeny or evolutionary tree Felsenstein J. (2004). ''Inferring Phylogenies'' Sinauer Associates: Sunderland, MA.) is a branching diagram or a tree (graph theory), tree showing ...
, with the desideratum that all named taxa are monophyletic. A taxon is called monophyletic if it includes all the descendants of an ancestral form. Groups that have descendant groups removed from them are termed
paraphyletic In taxonomy, a group is paraphyletic if it consists of the group's last common ancestor and all descendants of that ancestor excluding a few—typically only one or two—Monophyly, monophyletic subgroups. The group is said to be paraphyleti ...

paraphyletic
, while groups representing more than one branch from the tree of life are called
polyphyletic 300px, Cladogram of the primates, showing a monophyly (the simians, in yellow), a paraphyly">monophyly.html" ;"title="primates, showing a monophyly">primates, showing a monophyly (the simians, in yellow), a paraphyly (the prosimians, in cyan, inc ...

polyphyletic
. Monophyletic groups are recognized and diagnosed on the basis of
synapomorphies 279px, trait states. In phylogenetics, apomorphy and synapomorphy refer to derived characters of a clade A clade (; from grc, , ''klados'', "branch"), also known as a monophyletic group or natural group, is a group of organisms that are mon ...
, shared derived character states. Cladistic classifications are compatible with traditional Linnean taxonomy and the Codes of
Zoological Zoology ()The pronunciation of zoology as is typically regarded as nonstandard, though it is not uncommon. is the branch of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical s ...
and
Botanical Nomenclature Botanical nomenclature is the formal, scientific naming of plants. It is related to, but distinct from taxonomy Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such ...
. An alternative system of nomenclature, the '' International Code of Phylogenetic Nomenclature'' or ''PhyloCode'' has been proposed, whose intent is to regulate the formal naming of clades. Linnaean ranks will be optional under the ''PhyloCode'', which is intended to coexist with the current, rank-based codes. It remains to be seen whether the systematic community will adopt the ''PhyloCode'' or reject it in favor of the current systems of nomenclature that have been employed (and modified as needed) for over 250 years.


Kingdoms and domains

Well before Linnaeus, plants and animals were considered separate Kingdoms. Linnaeus used this as the top rank, dividing the physical world into the vegetable, animal and mineral kingdoms. As advances in microscopy made classification of microorganisms possible, the number of kingdoms increased, five- and six-kingdom systems being the most common. Domains are a relatively new grouping. First proposed in 1977,
Carl Woese Carl Richard Woese (; July 15, 1928 – December 30, 2012) was an American microbiologist and biophysicist. Woese is famous for defining the Archaea (a new domain (biology), domain of life) in 1977 by phylogenetic taxonomy (biology), taxonomy of 16 ...

Carl Woese
's
three-domain system The three-domain system is a biological classification In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, ...
was not generally accepted until later. One main characteristic of the three-domain method is the separation of
Archaea Archaea ( ; singular archaeon ) constitute a domain Domain may refer to: Mathematics *Domain of a function, the set of input values for which the (total) function is defined **Domain of definition of a partial function **Natural domain of a pa ...

Archaea
and
Bacteria Bacteria (; common noun bacteria, singular bacterium) are a type of biological cell The cell (from Latin ''cella'', meaning "small room") is the basic structural, functional, and biological unit of all known organisms. Cells are the sm ...

Bacteria
, previously grouped into the single kingdom Bacteria (a kingdom also sometimes called
Monera Monera (/məˈnɪərə/) (Greek - μονήρης (monḗrēs), "single", "solitary") is a biological kingdom that is made up of prokaryote A prokaryote () is a Unicellular organism, single-celled organism that lacks a cell nucleus, nucleus, a ...
), with the
Eukaryota Eukaryotes () are organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interact ...
for all organisms whose cells contain a
nucleus ''Nucleus'' (plural nuclei) is a Latin word for the seed inside a fruit. It most often refers to: *Atomic nucleus, the very dense central region of an atom *Cell nucleus, a central organelle of a eukaryotic cell, containing most of the cell's DNA ...
. A small number of scientists include a sixth kingdom, Archaea, but do not accept the domain method.
Thomas Cavalier-Smith Thomas (Tom) Cavalier-Smith, Royal Society, FRS, Royal Society of Canada, FRSC, Natural Environment Research Council, NERC Professorial Fellow (21 October 1942 - 19 March 2021), was a Professor of Evolutionary Biology in the Department of Zoolog ...
, who published extensively on the classification of
protist A protist () is any (that is, an organism whose contain a ) that is not an , , or . While it is likely that protists share a (the ), the exclusion of other eukaryotes means that protists do not form a natural group, or . Therefore, some pro ...
s, recently proposed that the Neomura, the clade that groups together the Archaea and , would have evolved from Bacteria, more precisely from
Actinobacteria The Actinobacteria are a phylum of mostly Gram-positive bacteria File:Gram stain 01.jpg, 300px, Violet-stained gram-positive cocci and pink-stained gram-negative bacillus (shape), bacilli In bacteriology, gram-positive bacteria are bacteria tha ...
. His 2004 classification treated the archaeobacteria as part of a subkingdom of the kingdom Bacteria, i.e., he rejected the three-domain system entirely. Stefan Luketa in 2012 proposed a five "dominion" system, adding
Prion Prions are misfolded protein Protein folding is the physical process Physical changes are changes affecting the form of a chemical substance A chemical substance is a form of matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter ...

Prion
obiota (
acellular Non-cellular life, or acellular life is life Life is a characteristic that distinguishes physical entities that have biological processes, such as signaling and self-sustaining processes, from those that do not, either because such func ...
and without
nucleic acid Nucleic acids are biopolymer Biopolymers are natural polymers produced by the cells of Organism, living organisms. Biopolymers consist of monomeric units that are Covalent_bond, covalently bonded to form larger molecules. There are three main cla ...

nucleic acid
) and
Virus A virus is a that only inside the living of an . Viruses infect all , from animals and plants to s, including and . Since 's 1892 article describing a non-bacterial infecting tobacco plants and the discovery of the by in 1898, more ...

Virus
obiota (acellular but ''with'' nucleic acid) to the traditional three domains.


Recent comprehensive classifications

Partial classifications exist for many individual groups of organisms and are revised and replaced as new information becomes available; however, comprehensive, published treatments of most or all life are rarer; recent examples are that of Adl et al., 2012 and 2019, which covers eukaryotes only with an emphasis on protists, and Ruggiero et al., 2015, covering both eukaryotes and
prokaryote A prokaryote () is a Unicellular organism, single-celled organism that lacks a cell nucleus, nucleus, and other membrane-bound organelles. The word ''prokaryote'' comes from the Greek language, Greek wikt:πρό#Ancient Greek, πρό (, 'before') a ...
s to the rank of Order, although both exclude fossil representatives. A separate compilation (Ruggiero, 2014) covers extant taxa to the rank of Family. Other, database-driven treatments include the
Encyclopedia of Life The ''Encyclopedia of Life'' (''EOL'') is a free, online collaborative encyclopedia intended to document all of the 1.9 million living species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxon ...
, the
Global Biodiversity Information Facility The Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) is an international organisation ''International Organization'' is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal that covers the entire field of international relations, international affairs. It w ...

Global Biodiversity Information Facility
, the NCBI taxonomy database, the
Interim Register of Marine and Nonmarine Genera The Interim Register of Marine and Nonmarine Genera (IRMNG) is a taxonomic database which attempts to cover published genus names for all domains of life from 1758 in zoology (1753 in botany) up to the present, arranged in a single, internally c ...
, the Open Tree of Life, and the
Catalogue of Life The Catalogue of Life is an online databaseAn online database is a database A database is an organized collection of data Data are units of information Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncertainty; it answers the q ...
. The
Paleobiology Database The Paleobiology Database is an online resource for information on the distribution and classification of fossil animals, plants, and microorganisms. History The Paleobiology Database (PBDB) originated in the NCEAS-funded Phanerozoic Marine Paleofa ...
is a resource for fossils.


Application

Biological taxonomy is a sub-discipline of
biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanisms, Development ...

biology
, and is generally practiced by biologists known as "taxonomists", though enthusiastic
naturalists Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organismos'') is any individual contiguous system that embodies the Life#Biology, properties of life. ...

naturalists
are also frequently involved in the publication of new taxa. Because taxonomy aims to describe and organize
life Life is a characteristic that distinguishes physical entities that have biological processes, such as Cell signaling, signaling and self-sustaining processes, from those that do not, either because such functions have ceased (they have Death ...

life
, the work conducted by taxonomists is essential for the study of
biodiversity Biodiversity is the biological variety and of . Biodiversity is a measure of variation at the , , and level. Terrestrial biodiversity is usually greater near the , which is the result of the warm and high . Biodiversity is not distributed ev ...

biodiversity
and the resulting field of
conservation biology Conservation biology is the study of the conservation of nature and of Earth's biodiversity with the aim of protecting species, their habitats, and ecosystems from excessive rates of extinction and the erosion of biotic interactions. It is an int ...
.


Classifying organisms

Biological classification is a critical component of the taxonomic process. As a result, it informs the user as to what the relatives of the taxon are hypothesized to be. Biological classification uses taxonomic ranks, including among others (in order from most inclusive to least inclusive):
Domain Domain may refer to: Mathematics *Domain of a function, the set of input values for which the (total) function is defined **Domain of definition of a partial function **Natural domain of a partial function **Domain of holomorphy of a function *Doma ...
,
Kingdom Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female monarch Taxonomy * Kingdom (biology), a category in biological taxonomy Arts an ...
,
Phylum In biology, a phylum (; plural The plural (sometimes list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ), in many languages, is one of the values of the grammatical number, grammatical category of number. The plural of a noun typically denotes a q ...
,
Class Class or The Class may refer to: Common uses not otherwise categorized * Class (biology), a taxonomic rank * Class (knowledge representation), a collection of individuals or objects * Class (philosophy), an analytical concept used differently f ...
,
Order Order or ORDER or Orders may refer to: * Orderliness Orderliness is associated with other qualities such as cleanliness Cleanliness is both the abstract state of being clean and free from germs, dirt, trash, or waste, and the habit of achieving a ...
,
Family In , family (from la, familia) is a of people related either by (by recognized birth) or (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose of families is to maintain the well-being of its members and of society. Ideally, families would off ...
,
Genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure ...
,
Species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individu ...

Species
, and Strain.


Taxonomic descriptions

The "definition" of a taxon is encapsulated by its description or its diagnosis or by both combined. There are no set rules governing the definition of taxa, but the naming and publication of new taxa is governed by sets of rules. In
zoology Zoology ()The pronunciation of zoology as is usually regarded as nonstandard, though it is not uncommon. is the branch of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical stru ...
, the
nomenclature Nomenclature (, ) is a system of names or terms, or the rules for forming these terms in a particular field of arts or sciences. The principles of naming vary from the relatively informal naming conventions, conventions of everyday speech to the i ...

nomenclature
for the more commonly used ranks (
superfamily SUPERFAMILY is a database and search platform of structural and functional annotation for all proteins and genomes. It classifies amino acid sequences into known structural domains, especially into SCOP superfamilies. Domains are functional, str ...
to
subspecies In biological classification In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactio ...
), is regulated by the ''
International Code of Zoological Nomenclature The International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) is a widely accepted convention Convention may refer to: * Convention (norm), a custom or tradition, a standard of presentation or conduct ** Treaty, an agreement in international law * Co ...
'' (''ICZN Code''). In the fields of
phycology Phycology (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 milli ...
,
mycology Mycology is the branch of biology concerned with the study of fungus, fungi, including their genetics, genetic and biochemistry, biochemical properties, their Taxonomy (biology), taxonomy and ethnomycology, their use to humans as a source for ti ...
, and
botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the Ancient Greek wo ...

botany
, the naming of taxa is governed by the ''
International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants The ''International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants'' (ICN) is the set of rules and recommendations dealing with the formal botanical name A botanical name is a formal scientific name Science (from the Latin Latin (, ...
'' (''ICN''). The initial description of a taxon involves five main requirements: # The taxon must be given a name based on the 26 letters of the Latin alphabet (a binomial for new species, or uninomial for other ranks). # The name must be unique (i.e. not a
homonym In linguistics, homonyms, broadly defined, are words which are homographs (words that share the same spelling, regardless of pronunciation) or homophones (words that share the same pronunciation, regardless of spelling), or both. For example, acco ...
). # The description must be based on at least one name-bearing
type Type may refer to: Science and technology Computing * Typing, producing text via a keyboard, typewriter, etc. * Data type, collection of values used for computations. * File type * TYPE (DOS command), a command to display contents of a file. * Type ...
specimen. # It should include statements about appropriate attributes either to describe (define) the taxon or to differentiate it from other taxa (the diagnosis, ''ICZN Code'', Article 13.1.1, ''ICN'', Article 38). Both codes deliberately separate defining the content of a taxon (its
circumscription Circumscription may refer to: *Circumscribed circle *Circumscription (logic) *Circumscription (taxonomy) *Circumscription theory, a theory about the origins of the political state in the history of human evolution proposed by the American anthropol ...
) from defining its name. # These first four requirements must be published in a work that is obtainable in numerous identical copies, as a permanent scientific record. However, often much more information is included, like the geographic range of the taxon, ecological notes, chemistry, behavior, etc. How researchers arrive at their taxa varies: depending on the available data, and resources, methods vary from simple quantitative or qualitative comparisons of striking features, to elaborate computer analyses of large amounts of
DNA sequence DNA sequencing is the process of determining the nucleic acid sequence A nucleic acid sequence is a succession of bases signified by a series of a set of five different letters that indicate the order of nucleotides Nucleotides are organic ...

DNA sequence
data.


Author citation

An "authority" may be placed after a scientific name. The authority is the name of the scientist or scientists who first validly published the name. For example, in 1758 Linnaeus gave the the scientific name ''Elephas maximus'', so the name is sometimes written as "''Elephas maximus'' Linnaeus, 1758". The names of authors are frequently abbreviated: the abbreviation ''L.'', for ''Linnaeus,'' is commonly used. In botany, there is, in fact, a regulated list of standard abbreviations (see
list of botanists by author abbreviation A ''list'' is any enumeration of a set of items. List or lists may also refer to: People * List (surname) Organizations * List College, an undergraduate division of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America * SC Germania List, German rugby ...
). The system for assigning authorities differs slightly between
botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the Ancient Greek wo ...
and
zoology Zoology ()The pronunciation of zoology as is usually regarded as nonstandard, though it is not uncommon. is the branch of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical stru ...
. However, it is standard that if the genus of a species has been changed since the original description, the original authority's name is placed in parentheses.


Phenetics

In phenetics, also known as taximetrics, or numerical taxonomy, organisms are classified based on overall similarity, regardless of their phylogeny or evolutionary relationships. It results in a measure of evolutionary "distance" between taxa. Phenetic methods have become relatively rare in modern times, largely superseded by cladistic analyses, as phenetic methods do not distinguish common ancestral (or
plesiomorph File:Cladogram imaginary birds.jpg, Imaginary cladogram. The yellow mask is a plesiomorphy for each living masked species, because it is ancestral. It is also a symplesiomorphy for them. But for the four living species as a whole, it is an apomorph ...
ic) traits from new common (or apomorphic) traits. However, certain phenetic methods, such as
neighbor joining In bioinformatics, neighbor joining is a bottom-up (agglomerative) clustering method for the creation of phylogenetic trees, created by Naruya Saitou and Masatoshi Nei (born January 2, 1931) is a Japanese-born American evolutionary biologist ...
, have found their way into cladistics, as a reasonable approximation of phylogeny when more advanced methods (such as
Bayesian inference Bayesian inference is a method of in which is used to update the probability for a hypothesis as more or becomes available. Bayesian inference is an important technique in , and especially in . Bayesian updating is particularly important in th ...
) are too computationally expensive.


Databases

Modern taxonomy uses
database In , a database is an organized collection of stored and accessed electronically from a . Where databases are more complex they are often developed using formal techniques. The (DBMS) is the that interacts with s, applications, and the data ...

database
technologies to search and catalogue classifications and their documentation. While there is no commonly used database, there are comprehensive databases such as the ''
Catalogue of Life The Catalogue of Life is an online databaseAn online database is a database A database is an organized collection of data Data are units of information Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncertainty; it answers the q ...
'', which attempts to list every documented species. The catalogue listed 1.64 million species for all kingdoms as of April 2016, claiming coverage of more than three quarters of the estimated species known to modern science.


See also

* Automated species identification *
Bacterial taxonomy Bacterial taxonomy is the Linnaean taxonomy, taxonomy, i.e. the Taxonomic rank, rank-based classification, of bacteria. In the scientific classification established by Carl Linnaeus, each species has to be assigned to a genus (binary nomenclature), ...
*
Cladogram A cladogram (from Greek ''clados'' "branch" and ''gramma'' "character") is a diagram used in cladistics Cladistics (, from Greek language, Greek , ''kládos'', "branch") is an approach to Taxonomy (biology), biological classification in whi ...

Cladogram
*
Cladistics Cladistics (; ) is an approach to biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), circumscribing) and classifying groups of biological organisms based on shared ch ...

Cladistics
*
Cluster analysis Cluster analysis or clustering is the task of grouping a set of objects in such a way that objects in the same group (called a cluster) are more similar (in some sense) to each other than to those in other groups (clusters). It is a main task of e ...
*
Consortium for the Barcode of Life The Consortium for the Barcode of Life (CBOL) is an international initiative dedicated to supporting the development of DNA barcoding as a global standard for species identification. CBOL's Secretariat Office is hosted by the National Museum of Nat ...
*
Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities The Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities (CETAF) is a taxonomic research network formed by scientific institutions in Europe. It was formed in December 1996 by ten of the largest European natural history museums and botanical gardens to be a ...
* Dendrogram * Genetypes * Glossary of scientific naming * Identification (biology) * ''Incertae sedis'' * Open Tree of Life * Parataxonomy * Phenogram * Set theory * Taxonomy (general) * Virus classification


Notes


References


Bibliography

* * * *


External links


What is taxonomy?
at th
''Natural History Museum London''

Taxonomy
a
NCBI
the ''National Center for Biotechnology Information''
Taxonomy
a
UniProt
the ''Universal Protein Resource''
ITIS
the ''Integrated Taxonomic Information System''
CETaF
the ''Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities''
Wikispecies
''free species directory''

{{Branches of biology Taxonomy (biology), Biological nomenclature Biological classification, *