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Topics in Depth

History of Taxonomy

Standing in line at the grocery store, we get the opportunity to see what latest boy band member is dating [insert new TV star's name here]. While deciding between brands of gum, you take a moment...


Guess how many different species of living critters there are in the world today. Taxonomists know of about 1.8 million, but they think that there may be several million more that haven't been iden...

Creating Phylogenetic Trees

A couple hundred years ago, by comparing all of the big, important characteristics of organisms, taxonomists were able to categorize thousands of species accurately. Once they understood evolution,...

Developmental Biology

It's time to get classy—cladogram classification classy. We'll use the cladogram below to see how scientists use homologous patterns of development to help them classify animals. Each evolutionar...


For hundreds of years, scientists could only look at things on a macro level: body plans and structures, modes of reproduction, and so on. Now, they have an incredibly powerful tool to help them un...


In this last section, we're going to take a whirlwind tour through all of the biggest taxa on Earth. We hope you get a sense of just how diverse life on our planet is. Before we get into the detail...

Common Mistakes

History of TaxonomyRemember that Latin doesn't just add an "s" to the end of a word to make it plural. Without going into the grammar rules, remember these tricky terms:  SingularPluralTa...

Test Your Knowledge!

History of Taxonomy1. Name the two kingdoms that Aristotle created. 2. Who introduced the binomial system of nomenclature? 3. Who suggested that there should be 3 domains at the top of the hierarch...

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