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Life Science - Scientific Classification

Scientific Classification

Classification is the process used by scientists to make sense of the 1.5 million or so different kinds of living organisms on the planet.

It does this by describing, naming and placing them in different groups.

two hippos

Classifications

At present most biologists divide the living world into 5 kingdoms, namely:

  • bacteria
  • protists
  • fungi
  • plants
  • animals

Now, lets look just at the Animal Kingdom...

So, What are Animals?

If we were suddenly confronted with an animal we had never seen in our lives before, how would we know it was not a plant or even a fungus?

Animals:

  • eat organic material (plants or other animals)
  • move to find food
  • take the food into their bodies and then digest it
  • most reproduce by fertilizing eggs with sperm

Sea cucumber Sea cucumber

Apply

Which of the following belongs to the animal kingdom? There may be more than one answer!

  • Mushroom
  • Octopus
  • Mycobacterium bovis (TB bacterium)
  • Pine tree
  • Flea
  • Seaweed
  • Elephant

Apply

Which of the following belongs to the animal kingdom? There may be more than one answer!

  • Mushroom
  • Octopus
  • Mycobacterium bovis (TB bacterium)
  • Pine tree
  • Flea
  • Seaweed
  • Elephant

Scientific Naming

All animals have been given an official scientific or binomial name. These names are always in Latin.

For example:

  • Common rat: Rattus rattus
  • Human: Homo sapiens
  • Domestic cat: Felis domesticus
  • Domestic dog: Canis familiaris

Scientific Naming

As you can see from the above there are certain rules about writing scientific names:

e.g. Canis familiaris (domestic dog)

  • They always have 2 parts to them.
  • The first part is the genus name and is always written with a capital first letter.
  • The second name is the species name and is always written in lower case.
  • The name is always underlined or printed in italics.

Apply

Which of the following is written correctly?

  • Felis Catus (domestic cat)
  • Mus musculus (mouse)
  • Rattus norvegicus (brown rat)
  • Canis Familiaris (domestic dog)
  • Gallus gallus (chicken)
  • Rana Temporalis (frog)

Apply

Which of the following is written correctly?

  • Felis Catus (domestic cat)
  • Mus musculus (mouse)
  • Rattus norvegicus (brown rat)
  • Canis Familiaris (domestic dog)
  • Gallus gallus (chicken)
    Capital then lowercase and in italics
  • Rana Temporalis (frog)

Apply

Which of the following animals are the same species?

  • Equus ferus (wild horse)
  • Equus africanus (African wild donkey)
  • Camelus ferus (Wild Bactrian Camel)
  • None of the above

Apply

Which of the following animals ARE the same SPECIES?

  • Equus ferus (wild horse)
  • Equus africanus (African wild donkey)
  • Camelus ferus (Wild Bactrian Camel)
  • None of the above

To be the same species of animal, they will have the exact same scientific name!

Animal Kingdom

The term "animal" includes both vertebrates (who have a backbone) and invertebrates (who do not have a backbone).

pie chart showing invertebrates vs vertebrates

Animal Kingdom

Take a look at the diagram below, which shows the size of the different groups of animals in the Animal Kingdom as proportions of the total number of different animal species.

pie chart showing invertebrates vs vertebrates

Interpret

Which are more numerous?

  1. animals with a backbone
  2. animals without a backbone

pie chart showing invertebrates vs vertebrates

Interpret

Which are more numerous?

  1. animals with a backbone
  2. animals without a backbone
    Notice the small size of the segment representing vertebrates! All the other animals in the Animal Kingdom are animals with no backbone, or invertebrates. This includes the worms, sea anemones, starfish, snails, crabs, spiders and insects.

pie chart showing invertebrates vs vertebrates

Vertebrates

These are all members of the group called the vertebrates (or animals with a backbone).

pie chart showing different types of vertebrates

Interpret

Which type of vertebrate is most prevalent?

  1. Amphibians
  2. Birds
  3. Mammals
  4. Fish

pie chart showing different types of vertebrates

Interpret

Which type of vertebrate is most prevalent?

  1. Amphibians
  2. Birds
  3. Mammals
  4. Fish
    Most vertebrate animals are fish.

pie chart showing different types of vertebrates