Taxonomy is the study of the classification of organisms, it is the
organization (separation) of all the known organisms into groups based
on their shared features, these groups are then organized into
further, larger groups. These groups are all referred to as Taxa
(Taxon - singular). The taxa used in taxonomy are: Species, Genus,
Family, Order, Class, Phylum and kingdom, each group getting larger
going form species to kingdom.
Taxa Used in Taxonomy
Organisms That are able to interbreed, producing fertile offspring are
considered to be of the same species, this taxon can also be divided
into subspecies and then strains (to give more finite classification).
A groups of organisms that are similar and fairly closely related.
A group of organisms, which are of apparently, related Genera.
A group of similar, or apparently related families.
A grouping of related orders within a phylum.
Organisms with very basic similarities, which subtle similarities,
that appears to have been constructed on the same 'plan'.
The largest group, which includes animals, plants, fungiâ€¦Subdivided
into Prokaryota (single celled organisms) and Eukaryota (multicellular
Some groups are so large that they become apparently meaningless, when
this happens they can be divided into more specific subdivisions.
For individual species the Binomial system is used to name organisms.
This system makes use of the Species and Genus taxa, by giving every
species 2 names, the first identifying it's genus, the second it's
species (so that specific creatures can be identified by their names).
For example the water crowfoot (a type of buttercup) is called:
The first part of its' name identifying it as a part of the Buttercup
Genus and its' second name specifying that it lives in water. The
first name is always a noun and the second an adjective.
The relation between Phylogeny and Classification
Phylogeny is the evolutionary history of a species, it is a valuable
biological mechanism used to determine what genus a species may fall
into, as species which have very similar (homologous) features can be
assumed to have evolved from the same common ancestors, e.g. horses
donkeys and zebras all have homologous features and can all be filed
under the genus Equus.
Humans have also had a hand in how many of the animals we see every
day are the way they are. Take Dogs for example, they have been bred
to produce a wide variety of qualities that we find desirable in them,
and these can be behavioural, or physical properties. Guard dogs have
been bred to have phenotypes such as broad shoulders, heavy build and