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In biologytaxonomy (from Ancient Greek τάξις (taxis), meaning ‘arrangement’, and -νομία (-nomia), meaning ‘method‘) is the science of defining and naming groups of biological organisms on the basis of shared characteristics. Organisms are grouped together into taxa (singular: taxon) and these groups are given a taxonomic rank; groups of a given rank can be aggregated to form a super-group of higher rank, thus creating a taxonomic hierarchy. The principal ranks in modern use are domainkingdomphylum (division is sometimes used in botany in place of phylum), classorderfamilygenus and species. The Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus is regarded as the father of taxonomy, as he developed a system known as Linnaean taxonomy for categorization of organisms and binomial nomenclature for naming organisms.

With the advent of such fields of study as phylogeneticscladistics, and systematics, the Linnaean system has progressed to a system of modern biological classification based on the evolutionary relationships between organisms, both living and extinct.