What is taxonomy all about?

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cambtone's profile pic

cambtone | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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You can think of taxonomy as a kind of postal "pigeonholes".  Just like the post, which is sorted into countries, states/districts/cities then down to streets and houses and uses zip codes, so that is the way taxonomy works.  It is dependent upon a number of features of species which show how closely (or distantly) related they are.  A simple example might be that spiders (Arichnida) have eight legs, whereas Insecta have six legs.  These can be further subdivided until we get to Genus and species.  The ability to mate and have fertile offspring is also important (horses and donkeys can mate, but their offspring cannot reproduce - therefore they are considered different in taxonomy.  DNA fingerprinting has extended our ability to classify living organisms, because we can now look for close patterns in DNA sequences.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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As you suggest, taxonomy is (when referring to biology) the science of classifying organisms.

Taxonomy got its start with the eighteenth century scientist Carolus Linnaeus.  He proposed the system of taxonomy that is now used by biologists.

This system uses seven levels of classification.  These are, in order of most general to least general: kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus and species.  Any of these levels of classification may contain sublevels.

In biology, taxonomic classifications are made based on observed physical characteristics, by genetic analysis, or by inference from the fossil record.


alpha-03's profile pic

alpha-03 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Taxonomy is a subject which deals with the evolution of the organism .starting from the uninucleated,prokaryotic bacterial cell to the uninucleated,eukaryotic cell like plant or animals.taxonomy divides the evolution of the organism into five groups monera,protista,fungi,plante and animalia.

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