Carl Linnaeus

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  • Topic: Carl Linnaeus, Botany, Species
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CarCarl Linnaeus Report
Born in 1707 to a country parson in Rashult, southern Sweden, the young Linnaeus showed a keen interest in plants and flowers and by the age of eight, was given the nickname ‘the little botanist’. Linnaeus studied medicine, first at the University of Lund and then at the University of Uppsala. Medicine at this time was based on herbals so it meant he also studied plants. He shared his passion for plants with Olaf Celsius whom he met at Uppsala. Linnaeus is most widely known for creating systems for naming and classifying plants and animals. Realizing that new plants were being discovered faster than their relationships could be established, he first came up with a simple classification based upon the number of floral parts of each plant. This system remained popular into the nineteenth century. Gradually Linnaeus also developed a system of names in which each species of plant and animal had a genus (class or group) name followed by a specific name. For example, Plantago virginica and Plantago lanceolata were the names of two species of plantain (an herb). Botanists agreed in 1905 to accept his Species plantarum (1753) and zoologists (scientists who study animals) agreed to accept his Systema naturae (1758) as the official starting points for scientific names of plants and animals. He was one of the most influential scientists of his time. His theory of classication allowed for clear and easy descriptions of plants, animals and minerals. So straightforward was his new naming system, it is still used by scientists today.
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