Classification Animals Essay

965 WordsOct 18, 20134 Pages
Classification of Animals To identify animals and learn more about them, it helps to become familiar with the way they are classified. This orderly way of classifying animals forms the basis of the field of study called taxonomy. Modern scientific taxonomy is based on physical characteristics such as teeth, skin, fur, feather, or scale patterns, size, or the structure of body parts and on genetic characteristics. Some key characteristics are basic to taxonomic descriptions. Others are not part of the basic description, but correspond to evolutionary relationships upon which taxonomic classifications are based. Biologists arrange animals into groups on the basis of traits which they share with other animals and their genetic relationships with each other. The field of study called systematics focuses specifically on the evolutionary relationships between living organisms. A Swedish scientist named Carolus Linnaeus laid the foundation of modern systematics with a work called Systema Naturae, which he published in 1758. Linnaeus wrote in Latin, the international language at the time, and Latin continues to be the basis of most scientific names. Sometimes the names of the various taxonomic categories are converted into forms that are more comfortable to everyday English, instead of Mammalia we just say mammal. Linnaeus designed his system of classification so that each animal and plant that he described had one and only one correct name and this name would not be shared with any other organism. Then he presented a method for organizing all these named organisms into a series of nested groups, based on their similarities and differences. In essence, it became a type of filing system, with the top levels including many, many different kinds of organisms and the lowest levels containing but a single type of plant or animal. This hierarchical Linnaean system uses clearly

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