Levels Of Classification

The modern version of Linnaeus's nested hierarchy of organization is shown in Figure 17-2. His largest category was the kingdom, which was made up of only two kingdoms—animals and plants. Modern biologists adopted this system but added several other kingdoms as well as domains, which are categories above the kingdom level. Subsets below the kingdom level are called phyla (FIE-luh) (singular, phylum). Each phylum consists of classes, and each class contains orders. Still smaller groupings are the family and the genus (JEE-nuhs). The smallest grouping, which contains only a single kind of organism, is the species (SPEE-sheez).

Binomial Nomenclature

Linnaeus gave an organism a species name, or scientific name, with two parts: the genus name followed by the species identifier. This system of two-part names is known as binomial nomenclature (bie-NOH-mee-uhl NOH-muhn-KLAY-chuhr). The species name for humans is Homo sapiens. The species name is written in italics with the genus name capitalized. Species names generally come from Latin roots and are intended to be the same for all countries and in every language.

The name of a species is often quite descriptive. One kind of amoeba, which changes its shape seemingly randomly as it crawls in a pond, is Chaos chaos. The ground pangolin's species identifier is temminckii, which commemorates C. J. Temminck, a 19th-century Dutch naturalist who first collected a specimen of this species.

Biologists refer to variations of a species that live in different geographic areas as subspecies. A subspecies name follows the species identifier. For example, Terrapene carolina triunui is a subspecies of the common eastern box turtle, Terrapene carolina.

Practicing Classification Materials paper, pencil Procedure Using Table 17-1 as a model, classify a fruit or vegetable that you would find in a grocery store. Use all eight levels of classification.

Analysis At which level did you assign the least specific name? At which level did you assign the most specific name? Would Aristotle have classified your item differently? Explain your answer.

Practicing Classification Materials paper, pencil Procedure Using Table 17-1 as a model, classify a fruit or vegetable that you would find in a grocery store. Use all eight levels of classification.

Analysis At which level did you assign the least specific name? At which level did you assign the most specific name? Would Aristotle have classified your item differently? Explain your answer.

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