- How did advances in scientific technology influence the classification of living organisms?
- It was a necessity for primitive cultures to know their surroundings in order for survival. They had to know what was safe to eat or to use in various ways, as well as what organisms could harm them. When men began to explore new lands, they almost always included one or more naturalists to collect and/or catalog the plants and animals in each area. Over 2000 years ago the Greek philosopher Aristotle categorized living things as plants or animals. They were also classified as land, water, or air dwellers. During the Middle Ages, names were given in Latin to all known creatures. In the mid-1700s, the Swedish biologist, Carolus Linnaeus, shortened the long descriptive terms for each organism to a binomial system, using only the genus (group) and species (individual kind) name. For example, the two oaks shown below belong to the genus Quercus (always italicized or underlined) for oaks, and phellos or rubra (always in lower case italics or underlined), for the willow or red oak. But what is a species? The best definition is that a species is "a group of actually or potentially interbreeding organisms that is reproductively isolated from other such groups." However, there are problems with this definition, because a few organisms only reproduce asexually, or they contain only females that produce more females. In addition, a few species can hybridize, usually producing sterile offspring.
Question No. 2
- What is the basis of which scientists place in organisms in taxonomic groups?
- Animals and plants are grouped into several categories which indicate their degree of relationship, one to another. These, starting from the general to the specific, are:
o Species... [continues]
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