Dictionary > Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Definition

noun
The science of finding, describing, classifying, and naming organisms, including the studying of the relationships between taxa and the principles underlying such a classification

adjective: taxonomic
Of, pertaining to, or relating to taxonomy

Supplement

Taxonomy refers to a branch of science that deals primarily with the description, identification, nomenclature, and classification of organisms. It aims to classify organisms in a hierarchical system or in taxonomic ranks (e.g. domain, kingdom, phylum or division, class, genus, species) based on shared characteristics or on phylogenetic relationships inferred from the fossil record or established by genetic analysis. For example, in phylogenetic taxonomy, the organisms are classified into clades (i.e. a taxonomic group of organisms based on homologous features derived from a common ancestor). The person specializing in this particular field is called a taxonomist. One such notable taxonomist is the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus. He is regarded by many as the father of taxonomy. One of his major contributions in taxonomy was a system of classification referred to as Linnaean classification where organisms are categorized into taxa. He was also the proponent of binomial nomenclature.

Word origin: from Greek taxis, arrangement, order + –nomia, method, from –nomos, law, managing, from nemein, manage

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