Naming species

1735 Naming species

The book of science

Tom Sharp

Carl Linnaeus philosophy of science

Naming species



Mammalia is the class that includes primates as well as pandas, elephants, and rodents. Today, all of life is divided into domains, domains into kingdoms, kingdoms into phylums, phylums into classes, classes into orders, orders into families, families into genera, and genera into species. Linnaeus distinguished two kingdoms, the animal kingdom and the vegetable kingdom. Today we recognize six kingdoms: Bacteria, Protozoa, Chromista, Plantae, Fungi, and Animalia. (Just don’t ask me what Chromista are.)

Gaspard (or Caspar) and his brother Johann (or Jean) Bauhin had developed a simplification of the Aristotelian naming system by 1596, and had used two-term names for some species. Even though their species terms were still descriptive Linnaeus adopted many of their names of genera.

Linnaeus also has a connection to Anders Celsius. Linnaeus and the manufacturer of his thermometers, Daniel Ekström, could have been at least partially responsible for reversing the Celsius temperature scale, putting zero at the freezing point and one hundred at the boiling point of water.

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