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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Taxonomy and Tables

Taxonomy and tables make information easier to understand and locate much like the Dewey Decimal system in a library or the alphabetic order of words in a dictionary. Information is more accessible and less volume is required in the description of organisms or information.

Taxonomy is the system of classifying and naming organisms which was developed by Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778). There were previous systems that were in use. However, the Linnaen system was much easier to use and replaced them all.

Originally there were only two Kingdoms which were the Plant and Animal Kingdoms. In the latter half of the twentieth century, scientists recognized the need to recognize facts that prevented all organisms from being categorized as a plant or animal.

One group was bacteria. Bacteria has a prokaryote cell. This primitive cell is why antibiotics prevent bacterial infections.  The antibiotic attacks a characteristic of the the prokaryote that the eukaryote does not possess. The chief difference between a prokaryote and an eukaryote is that they do not have membrane bound organelles such as a nucleus or mitochondria. The cell membrane of the prokaryote is different than the cell membrane of the eukaryote and that is the structure that antibiotics usually target.

Single celled organisms were the next group that did not fit neatly into the animal or plant kingdoms. Those that straddled both the plant and animal kingdoms were listed in both until these new Kingdoms of Protozoan and Chromista were created. It is important to note, there are other organisations of Kingdoms in use. However, the ones I list are the most commonly taught in classrooms in the United States. Chromista may be listed with Plants as well as with the Protozoans versus their own Kingdom in some textbooks.

The six Kingdoms are

1. Bacteria or Monera

2. Protozoans

3. Chromista - Algae species

4. Fungi

5. Plants

6. Animals

Each of the six Kingdoms are further divided into







The scientific name for organisms is a combination of it's genus and species.

Man - Homo sapiens.

Dog - Canis familiaris

House cat - Felis catus

Red Maple - Acer rubrum

Live Oak - Quercus virginiana

Red Oak - Quercus rubra

Dandelion - Taraxacum officinale


  1. Hi Ann - what a clear explanation - without too much ancillary detail - thank you ... Linnaeus was amazing and meticulous ... and really stood the test of time ... congratulations on an excellent post - cheers Hilary

  2. What a fabulous refresher. I had forgotten about felis domesticus, aka Bleubeard, until you reminded me!


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