Taxonomy vs Classification
Understanding the components and their functions could be made convenient through classifying those under different levels. The same principle has been applied to understand the enormously diversified biological organisms, mainly animals and plants. The basic method of classifying the organisms has been the taxonomy. It could be very confusing to understand the difference between taxonomy and classification, yet it is very important to do so. This article is an attempt to discuss that matter in summary.
Taxonomy is the discipline of classifying organisms into taxa by arranging them in a highly ordered manner. It is important to notice that taxonomists do the naming of taxa with Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species, and other taxonomic levels. Maintenance of collections of specimens is one of several responsibilities that a taxonomist would perform. Taxonomy provides identification keys by studying the specimens. The distribution of a certain species is very important for the survival, and taxonomy is directly involved with studying that aspect, as well. One of the well-known functions that taxonomists do is the naming of organisms with a generic and specific name, which is sometimes followed up with a sub-species name.
Species are scientifically described in taxonomy, which includes both extant and extinct species. Since the environment is changing every moment, the species should adapt accordingly, and this phenomenon is taking place rapidly among insects; taxonomical aspects are very important to be updated for such groups of organisms, as the descriptions for a particular species have been changed in a minor interval. Accordingly, the naming would also be changed with the new description forming a new taxon. Taxonomy is a fascinating field in biology with the involvement of highly enthusiastic scientists who are devoted to the discipline, and they usually go through many physical hardships in the wild.
Classification of biological species was first brought into practice with the enormous amount of work contributed by the great scientist Carolus Linnaeus. His classification of organisms was mainly based on the shared physical characteristics. However, the evolutionary approach was incorporated into biological classification after Charles Darwin’s common descent principle. Organisms have been classified entirely based on the evolutionary relativeness, after the cladistics method was introduced in the late 20th century. It is important to note that the physical similarities may or may not be present among evolutionarily related organisms. The advances in molecular biological techniques laid the pathway to revise the errors in the previous classification means with the use of DNA and RNA sequencing.
Despite the most respected scientific classification scheme is the taxonomy, there may be other systems to classify the organisms. Organisms could be classified based on the mode of life such sessile and motile, autotroph and heterotroph, terrestrial and aquatic, food habits, or anything else.
What is the difference between Taxonomy and Classification?
• Classification is the arrangement of organisms according to a set of principles, whereas taxonomy is the most respected classification system.
• Classification systems can be numerous, but taxonomy is one defined system.
• Classification can arrange organisms based on the model that describes different properties of organisms, while taxonomy has a definite approach to classify organisms.
• Taxonomists name organisms scientifically according to a common procedure, while common names of animals and plants have different bases or classification principles.