The key difference between dichotomous key and taxonomic key is that dichotomous key is the most popular identification key which facilitates the identification of an unknown individual while the taxonomic key is a simple tool used to identify a specific object.
Key is a tool that can be used to identify an organism. It consists of information regarding the species. Therefore, the main purpose of a key is to facilitate the identification of an organism so that it can be distinguished from another organism. Sometimes, it may not provide any information regarding evolution or phylogenetic relationships. Such a key is known as a taxonomic key. There are several types of taxonomic keys. Among them, the dichotomous key is the most popular identification tool. A dichotomous key has a series of paired statements.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Dichotomous Key
3. What is Taxonomic Key
4. Similarities Between Dichotomous Key and Taxonomic Key
5. Side by Side Comparison – Dichotomous Key vs Taxonomic Key in Tabular Form
What is a Dichotomous Key?
A dichotomous key is a tool used by biologists as a guide when they want to identify an individual. It helps to identify an unknown organism, especially a plant or an animal. As the name “dichotomous” suggests, it consists of statements having two choices that describe key characteristics of the unknown organism. Hence, this key always has two parts. Each step has two choices. The user needs to choose the best describe among the two choices and move along the key until he identifies the unknown organism. When one statement is answered, the next statements can be answered. In the end, dichotomous key identifies the particular species by their unique scientific name and also to which family the organism belongs.
Generally, dichotomous keys are used when the two species are very similar to one another. However, the dichotomous key does not provide any information regarding evolution or phylogenetic relationships.
What is a Taxonomic Key?
A taxonomic key is a device that helps people to identify an unknown plant or animal. It is a properly constructed key. Key consists of key information regarding the species. The user should go through the key carefully and choose the best-fit description of the specimen and move into the next description.
There are three types of taxonomic keys. They are dichotomous key, polyclave key (also called multiple access or synoptic), and probability key. Dichotomous keys are the most common and consists of a series of couplets. Polyclave keys are a relatively new alternative to dichotomous keys. They are becoming increasingly popular due to the ease of computerizing them. Polyclave key allows the user to enter the key at any point.
What are the Similarities Between Dichotomous Key and Taxonomic Key?
- They both are identification keys.
- In fact, the dichotomous key is a taxonomic key.
What is the Difference Between Dichotomous Key and Taxonomic Key?
A dichotomous key is a tool that consists of paired statements in order to identify an unknown organism. A taxonomic key is a simple tool used to identify a specific object. Thus, this is the key difference between dichotomous key and taxonomic key.
Moreover, the dichotomous key, which is a type of taxonomic key, always has two choices, while taxonomic keys may have two or more choices. Furthermore, the polyclave keys, another type of taxonomic keys, are generated using computerized programs, unlike dichotomous keys. Besides, polyclave key allows user to enter into the key at any point, but the dichotomous key does not allow to enter.
Below is a summary tabulation of the difference between dichotomous key and taxonomic key.
Summary – Dichotomous Key vs Taxonomic Key
A taxonomic key is a tool that helps to identify a specific organism. There are several types of taxonomic keys. Among them, the dichotomous key is the most popular tool that consists of paired statements. It allows the identification of the unknown species. Thus, this is the key difference between dichotomous key and taxonomic key.