Last Updated: February 1, 2017

Definition - What does Taxonomy mean?

Taxonomy is the science of classifying, describing, and naming groups of organisms. All life on earth is classified by science through taxonomy. This includes all plants, animals, and even microorganisms.

Taxonomists classify and arrange species according to specific behavioral, genetic, and biochemical observations. Taxonomy classifies species according to related aspects or traits that provides knowledge essential to their management and sustainability.

MaximumYield explains Taxonomy

Because taxonomy provides unique names for species, the classifications enable everyone to be certain they are talking about the same things. While there are common names for these worldwide and in many languages, taxonomy provides a unique Latin name for every species and sub-species.

Plants, fungus, microorganisms, and animals are separated by species, a species being a related biological group that is able to reproduce. A horse and a cow cannot reproduce, for example, meaning they are each of a separate species. A taxonomist classifies and names these related groups, which helps people learn more about these organisms.

Taxonomic knowledge thus far is not a complete catalog of all of earth’s species. In 250 years, taxonomists have identified and classified about 1.78 million species, although the actual number of earth species is estimated at between 5 and 30 million.

While the common names may vary from region to region or country to country, Latin names do not. Therefore, because of Taxonomy, a 'cornus' in Wyoming is a 'cornus' in Germany and everywhere else.

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