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Classification

Biology 102
• Classification
– The systematic arrangement in groups or categories
according to established criteria
– Organizing the types of shoes in a shoe store or the
screws, bolts, and nails at a hardware store
• Taxonomy
– The scientific discipline that specializes in classifying
organisms and assigning them to internationally
accepted groups
– Assign names to organisms using common rules
• Binomial nomenclature
What’s in a name?
• Prior to the creation of binomial nomenclature,
organisms were give common names that were not
necessarily internationally accepted or known
• Common names led to confusion
• Binomial nomenclature
– Literally translates to “two-name naming system”
– Systematic method of naming an organism
– Each organism given two names; written in italics (or
underlined) and the first word is always capitalized
– Examples:
• Homo sapiens (abbreviated H. sapiens) – humans
• Escherichia coli (abbreviated E. coli) – common
bacteria found in mammalian intestines
Linnaean Classification
• Carolus Linneaus
– Father of modern taxonomy
– Swedish botanist who lived in the 18th Century
– Developed the classification system which bears his
name
• System divides life into a series of taxa
– Taxa is the plural form of taxon
– Based on observable characteristics (i.e., length of a
bone, size/shape of a flower, etc.)
• Divided life into two broad groups
– Animalia – animals
– Plantae - plants
Linnaean Classification
• Seven Taxonomic Categories
– Begins with the Kingdom which is the largest and
most inclusive category
– Concludes with the Species which is the smallest and
least inclusive (or most exclusive)
– Kingdom
• Phylum
– Class
» Order
- Family
- Genus
- Species
Linnaean Classification
• The binomial nomeclature system uses the genus + the
species name to refer to specific organisms
– The genus + species name is also referred to as the
“specific epithet”
• Additional kingdoms
– In the 20th century, 3 kingdoms were added:
• Protista
• Fungi
• Monera
• Why do the taxa exist?
– Big problem with Linnaean taxonomy is that it does
not explain why organisms with similar traits arrived at
those traits
– Groups simply defined based on having (or not
having) a particular characteristic
Modern Evolutionary Classification
• Built on the Linnaean framework with the seven
taxonomic categories roughly intact
– Modern framework diagram
• Relationships, not just physical similarity
– Organisms are now grouped based on evolutionary
descent (“descent with modification” – C. Darwin)
• In other words, groupings are based on genealogy
Modern Evolutionary Classification
• Relationships, not just physical similarity
(continued)
– Physical and genetic factors can be used to
determine relationships
• Derived characters – characteristics that are only
found in recent parts of a lineage and not among
the older members
– Can be physical and genetic structures
– Enter The 4th Dimension
• Can use changes in the code of a gene to quantify
the passage of time (molecular clock)
• This fact can be used to determine how long ago
species were related
• Molecular clock diagram
Cladograms
• Scientists can take the data on derived characters (both
genetic and physical) and plot them on a graph
– This type of graph is called a cladogram
• Making a cladogram
– Group organisms based on shared derived characters
– Plot individual species or groups of species with the
same derived character together on the cladogram
– Species that do not share a derived character are
plotted further away from one another
– Let’s try the Quick Lab on page 453 in your textbook
• Cladograms depict the evolutionary relationship
among species
– If a large enough number of species are considered,
we are looking at the “Tree of Life”
The first “tree of life”
Sketch from Darwin’s notebook
Darwin on the “Tree of Life”
• “The affinities of all the beings of the same class have
sometimes been represented by a great tree….The green
and budding twigs may represent existing species; and
those produced during each year may represent the long
succession of extinct species…As buds give rise by
growth to fresh buds, and these, if vigorous, branch out
and overtop on all sides many a feebler branch, so by
generation I believe it has been with the great Tree of
Life, which fills with its dead and broken branches the
crust of the earth, and covers the surface with its ever
branching and beautiful ramifications.”
Modern Evolutionary Classification
• Using evolutionary relationships (both from physical and
genetic evidence), we can construct evolutionary tree of
life for the species currently alive on the planet
– Tree of life diagram – from textbook
– Tree of life diagram – not from textbook = better!
• Looking at life through the evolutionary “lens” showed us
that the 5 Kingdom model needed revision
• Genetic evidence indicated larger taxa than the kingdom
– Domains are super-groups that include one or more
kingdoms
– The three domains are:
• Bacteria
• Archaea
• Eukarya
Three Domains
• Domain Bacteria
– Unicellular, prokaryotes
– Formerly classified as Kingdom Monera
– Literally found everywhere on the planet
– Some are free-living, while others require a host to
survive
– Some are autotrophs, whiles others are heterotrophs
• Domain Archaea
– Unicellular, prokaryotes
– Formerly classified as Kingdom Monera
– Once thought to be forms of ancient life (hence the
name), but now thought to be modern life adapted to
extreme environments (i.e., hot springs, brine pools,
hydrothermal vents)
– Some are autotrophs, while others are heterotrophs
Three Domains
• Domain Eukarya
– Uni- and multicellular eukaryotes
– Some are heterotrophic, while others are autotrophic
– Comprised the other 4 kingdoms: Protista, Fungi,
Plantae, and Animalia
• Characteristics of Life Table
Modern interpretation of Linnaean
taxa
The molecular clock just keeps on
ticking
The Tree of Life – from textbook
The Tree of Life – better, more representative = not
from textbook