Scientifically Naming
Established by Linnaeus in 1753
Why do we need scientific names?
Many organisms have common names, but
these are often confusing.
The same organism can be known in
different parts of the world by many
various different common names.
Why do we need scientific names?
Marmota monax is
an animal some
people call
woodchuck, other
call it a groundhog,
and others a
whistlepig.
Binomial nomenclature
a system of naming organisms
binomial means "two name"
nomenclature means "naming"
Linnaeus
chose Latin for
the language
to use in
naming
organisms.
Reasons why Linnaeus chose Latin
• unchanging
• descriptive
• a root of many
modern languages
Canterbury Tales
in Middle English
1: Whan that aprill with his shoures soote
2: The droghte of march hath perced to the
roote,
3: And bathed every veyne in swich licour
4: Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
5: Whan zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
6: Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
7: Tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
1 Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote
When April with its sweet-smelling showers
2 The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
Has pierced the drought of March to the root,
3 And bathed every veyne in swich licour
And bathed every vein (of the plants) in such liquid
4 Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
By the power of which the flower is created;
5 Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
When the West Wind also with its sweet breath,
6 Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
In every wood and field has breathed life into,
7 The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
The tender new leaves, and the young sun
Beowulf Prologue in Old English
Hwæt! We Gardena
in geardagum,
þeodcyninga,
þrym gefrunon,
hu ða æþelingas
ellen fremedon.
Oft Scyld Scefing
sceaþena þreatum,
5
monegum mægþum,
meodosetla
ofteah,
egsode eorlas.
Syððan ærest wearð
feasceaft funden,
he þæs frofre gebad,
weox under wolcnum,
weorðmyndum
þah,
Scientific Names
• Binomial Nomenclature is a system for
naming organisms with two-word scientific
name:
• A species is a group of organisms that
have similar traits and are able to
produce fertile offspring.
• A genus is a group of similar species.
genus
from Greek genos, means
“race, kind”
Canis familiaris
Each organism is given a
generic name (Genus) and the
specific name (species).
species
In a scientific name the
species is referred to as
the specific epithet.
What can you tell from a
scientific name?
Perognathus californicus
Perognathus nelson
Perognathus spinatus
What can you tell from a
scientific name?
Perognathus
californicus
Perognathus
nelson
Perognathus
spinatus
Genus (plural genera) is a
classification grouping that contains
similar, closely related organisms.
Perognathus
californicus
Perognathus
nelson
Perognathus
spinatus
Species often describes a distinctive
feature of an organism. (such as
where it lives or its appearance)
Perognathus
californicus
Perognathus
nelson
Perognathus
spinatus
Homo sapiens
Homo (Genus)
sapiens (species)
The scientist who first described the Central
American red-eyed treefrog thought it was
especially pretty with its pea-green back,
chrome-yellow and bright blue ladder patterns
on its sides, bright orange feet, and vermillion
eyes, and thus named it Phyllomedusa callidryas
- the beautiful wood nymph (calli=beautiful and
dryas=wood nymph)
Helianthus annuus
common sunflower
• Genus is written first
• Genus is capitalized,
species is not
• Italicized or underlined
A scientific name is given to an organism by the first
person to publish a description of the organism.
Genus Felis
Felis share
characteristics
such as sharp,
retractable claws
and behaviors
such as hunting
other animals.
Felis concolor
(puma)
Concolor means
“the same color.”
Notice that this
animal’s coat is
mostly the same
color.
Felis marmorata
(Marbled cat)
Notice the
marbled pattern
of this animal’s
coat. Marmorata
means “marble.”
Felis domesticus
(House cat)
Domesticus
means “of the
house.”
Scientific Names
• Every organism has one and only one scientific
name.
• A single scientific name applies to only one
species.
• Sometimes scientific names are called Latin
names, but they are not actually Latin. The
terms that make up the scientific name can be
from any language; however, they must conform
to Latin grammar and are thereby Latinized.
Scientific Names
People don’t always agree with the name
because opinions differ and mistakes are made.
Therefore scientific names are occasionally
adjusted by international committees that meet
periodically. There are different committees for
plants, animals, etc. It is the responsibility of
these committees to make scientific names and
classifications as up-to-date as information
allows.
Species and Biblical Kinds
biblical kind (not same as species):
the grouping of organisms
established by God
Species: a group of similar
organisms established by man
Biblical Kinds
2 main characteristics of biblical kind:
1. they can reproduce with other
organisms in the kind
2. they produce offspring that look
like themselves and that can also
reproduce
Classification Tools
• Field guides
• Dichotomous keys
• Cladogram
Field guides
most have
descriptions and
illustrations of
organisms and
information about
where each organism
lives
Dichotomous keys
A dichotomous key is a series of
descriptions arranged in pairs that lead the
user to the identification of an unknown
organism.
Dichotomous keys
a detailed list of identifying characteristics
Cladogram
A cladogram is a branched diagram that
shows the relationships among organisms,
including common ancestors.
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Canterbury Tales in Middle English