why do we need to classify living things

All living organisms are classified into groups based on very basic, shared characteristics. Organisms within each group are then further divided into smaller groups. These smaller groups are based on more detailed similarities within each larger group. This grouping system makes it easier for scientists to study certain groups of organisms. Characteristics such as appearance, reproduction, mobility, and functionality are just a few ways in which living organisms are grouped together. These specialized groups are collectively called the classification of living things. The classification of living things includes 7 levels:, and. The most basic classification of living things is kingdoms. Currently there are. Living things are placed into certain kingdoms based on how they obtain their food, the types of cells that make up their body, and the number of cells they contain.


The is the next level following kingdom in the classification of living things. It is an attempt to find some kind of physical similarities among organisms within a kingdom. These physical similarities suggest that there is a common ancestry among those organisms in a particular phylum. Classes are way to further divide organisms of a phylum. As you could probably guess, organisms of a class have even more in common than those in an entire phylum. Humans belong to the Mammal Class because we drink milk as a baby. Organisms in each class are further broken down into orders. A taxonomy key is used to determine to which order an organism belongs. A taxonomy key is nothing more than a checklist of characteristics that determines how organisms are grouped together.


Orders are divided into families. Organisms within a family have more in common than with organisms in any classification level above it. Because they share so much in common, organisms of a family are said to be related to each other. Humans are in the Hominidae Family. Genus is a way to describe the generic name for an organism. The genus classification is very specific so there are fewer organisms within each one. For this reason there are a lot of different genera among both animals and plants. When using taxonomy to name an organism, the genus is used to determine the first part of its two-part name. Species are as specific as you can get. It is the lowest and most strict level of classification of living things. The main criterion for an organism to be placed in a particular species is the ability to breed with other organisms of that same species.


The species of an organism determines the second part of its two-part name.
How do scientists classify living things? The members of each group of living things share a set of special features unique to that group. For example, plants contain a chemical called chlorophyll that they use to make their own food (it also makes them green). Every member of the plant kingdom shares this characteristic. Scientists are always looking for these characteristics or 'observable features' which allow them to group different species together and see how they are related to each other. By comparing the features of different animals they have been able to classify them further, dividing each of the kingdoms into smaller groups. To understand the whole thing a bit more it is good to look at an example.


The red squirrel belongs to the Kingdom Animalia. Each kingdom is divided into groups, and these groups are divided into smaller groups. Each level of group has a special name: By examining its observable features scientists have determined that the red squirrel belongs to the phylum Chordata, phylum Chordata, class Mammalia and so on. Click the group names in the illustration below to see how the animals in each sub-group have more and more features in common. By now you should be getting the hang of how scientists classify living things. Explore the rest of Animal I. D. to see how we divide the animal kingdom into groups and have a look at the. Can you answer these questions? Click on a question to discover the answer. If you know it all already, return to the or play one of our

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