Taxonomic Hierarchy

A Taxonomic Hierarchy

There are two basis of taxonomic hierarchy:

(a)        Taxonomic hierarchy based on morphology

Karl von Linne (Carolus Linnaeus) gave the modern classification system. It is still used today. He believed that different species could be grouped into same categories. This grouping is based on the similarities between them. The group of animal with similar characteristics forms a taxon. For example, Housefly (Musca domestica) shows similarities with other flies. They have single pair of wing. Therefore, all the flies are placed in the same taxon. Moreover, the true flies also show similarities with the bees, butterflies and beetles.

Von Linne recognized five taxa. Modern taxonomists use eight taxa. It includes earlier five taxa. These taxa are arranged hierarchically. It is arrangement from broad to specific. These taxa are: Domain, Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus and Species. Domain is the broadest taxonomic category. It was added recently. It is not yet universally accepted.

(b)     Taxonomic hierarchy based on evolution



Von Linne did not accept evolution. But still many of his groupings show evolutionary relationships. Morphological similarities between two animals have a genetic basis. It gives rise to common evolutionary history. Thus the animals are grouped according to similar characteristics. Von Linne grouped them according to their evolutionary relationships. The members of the same taxonomic group are more closely related to each other than to members of different taxa.

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