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Taxonomy Examples and Definition

INTRODUCTION:

  • Taxonomy is the branch of study that deals with principles and procedures involved in the classification, nomenclature, and identification of organisms.
  • This method reflects the organism’s most significant features and relationships.
  • The main purpose of biological classification is to organise different plants and animals species in to groups
  • As a result, the study of one organism of a group gives us an idea about the rest of the members of that particular group.
  • Taxonomic knowledge about the organism is based on its form and structure (morphology), cell (cytology), development process (embryology), remnants of the past organisms (fossils), and ecological relationship.
  • The knowledge related to taxonomy helps the biologist to characterize and name the organism.

History of classification and taxonomy:

  • Greek scholars Hippocrates (460-377 BC), often referred to as 'Father of Medicine' and Aristotle (384-322 BC), often referred to as 'Father of Biology'. divided animals into four major groups like insects, birds, fishes, and whales.
  • Theophrastus (370-285 BC), often referred to as 'Father of Botany', in his book Historia Plantarum, classified plants on the basis of their habit, form, and texture, into four categories-trees, shrubs, undershrubs, and herbs. He gave names and descriptions of 480 plants in his book.
  • The system of artificial classification is introduced by Pliny the Elder. His book, Historia Naturalis, mentions over 1,000 economic plants.
  • John Ray has coined the terms monocotyledons and dicotyledons.
  • He also coined the term species for the group of organisms that share morphologically similar traits.
  • Carolus Linnaeus, a naturalist known as the 'Father of Taxonomy', published Systema Naturae (1758) and gave descriptions of 4326 species of animals.
  • Species Plantarum (1753) contains descriptions of 5900 plants species arranged according to the system of classification based on sexual characters.
  • Binomial nomenclature is the system introduced to name the plants and the animals by Linnaeus.

DETAILED EXPLANATION:

  • Organising organisms in an ordered manner is known as classification.
  • The branch of science dealing with the principle and procedure of the biological classification is defined as Taxonomy.
  • Term taxonomy was coined by A.P. de Candolle.
  • It consists of the following elements:

Nomenclature:

  • The set of universal laws and practices which provide the proper and distinct name to an organism is defined as nomenclature.
  • This allows us to differentiate and easily recognise a specific organism from others.

Classification:

  • The classification of organisms is the arrangement of organisms into groups on the basis of similarities and dissimilarities.
  • The hierarchy of the categories is based on the affinities and relationships of various groups.
  • This classification of organisms is closely correlated with the nomenclature system.
  • The categories which come under classification are Kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species.

Identification:

  • This is the method of identifying and determining the correct place of placement of organism in the system of classification.
  • Identification is also supported by certain taxonomical aids.

For example:

  • Consider three different species of plants that are A, B, and C.
  • Another plant named D which may resemble B in terms of characteristics.
  • Identification is termed as the recognition of the plant as identical to the already known plant B.
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