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For other uses, see Taxonomy (disambiguation).

Taxonomy (from Ancient Greek: τάξις taxis, "arrangement," and -νομία -nomia, "method") is the science of defining groups of biological organisms on the basis of shared characteristics and giving names to those groups. Organisms are grouped together into taxa (singular: taxon) and given a taxonomic rank; groups of a given rank can be aggregated to form a super group of higher rank and thus create a taxonomic hierarchy. The Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus is regarded as the father of taxonomy, as he developed a system known as Linnaean classification for categorization of organisms and binomial nomenclature for naming organisms.

With the advent of such fields of study as phylogenetics, cladistics, and systematics, the Linnaean system has progressed to a system of modern biological classification based on the evolutionary relationships between organisms, both living and extinct. An example of a modern classification is the one published in 2009 by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group for all living flowering plant families (the APG III system).


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