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Classification in biology is the arrangement of living things in group on the basis of the features that they possess.

Why classification in biology?

It has been estimated that there are over 10 million kinds of living organisms in the world.  Thus making classification an easy way to study these organisms. Living organisms are classified into groups on the basis of common features that they had.

There are two types of classification by of similarities of the features

Ancient Method of classification: This method of classification lay emphasis on the grouping of organisms base on their physical characteristics.

Modern Method of classification: This method of classification lay emphasis on the grouping of living organisms base on the evolutionary relationship between them.

The science of classification of living things is called Taxonomy.


Taxonomy have two branches

  1. Nomenclature
  2. Systematics

Nomenclature is the science of naming of organisms while systematics is the placing of organisms in groups base on their evolutionary similarities and differences.

Binomial system of nomenclature was pioneered by a Swedish botanist called Carl Linnaeus in 1735. In the binomial system of nomenclature: the generic name begins with capital letter while the specific name begins with a lower case letter. When naming a living thing in biology, the generic and species name must either be italicized or underlined

Example 1:

Homo sapiens (Latin name for human being).

Another system of nomenclature is called Trinomial system of nomenclature (this method gives a living a generic name, specific name, and sub-specific name or rank name).

Example 2:

Manihot esculenta Crantz (Manihot: genus name, esculenta: species name, Crantz: name of the discoverer).


Zea mays Linn. (Zea is the generic name, mays is the specific name and Linn. Is the abbreviation of Linnaeus the discoverer).

Now you are doing good, let move on to the next one


Mnemonics: KP-COF-GS

The hierarchy in nomenclature include:

Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species

Now, let’s try to name human scientifically


Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata (Animals that possess notochord at some time in their life )

Class: Mammalia (Warm-blooded, hairy and feed their young ones with milk)

Order: Primates (Mostly tree-dwellers, grasping hands and feet with five digits)

Family: Hominidae (Hominids human-like apes)

Genus: Homo

Species: Sapiens (highly developed brain, few body hair)


Species are a group of closely related organisms that are capable of interbreeding to produce fertile offspring. By this definition, if two organisms of different species mate, the offspring if peradventure there is any will not be fertile. For example: Mule (the hybrid from the mating of a donkey and horse) are sterile though mules have an advantage over horses and donkeys in that they are faster than donkeys and can carry heavier loads than horses.


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