Format: Chapters: 1-4
Pages: 40 Attributes: UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH
The field of biology that deals with the theory and practice of classification of organism is called as taxonomy. Taxonomy term was proposed by de Candolle in 1813 which means law of arrangements ( taxis- arrangement or order; nomos- law). It is the science of biological classification. It consists of three separate but interrelated parts i.e. classification, in which we arrange organisms into groups or taxa based on their mutual similarity or evolutionary relatedness; Naming or nomenclature and identification which involves process of determining a particular isolate belonging to a recognized taxon. A species is a group of interbreeding natural populations that is reproductively isolated from other such groups. To identify all such types that lived or exist on this earth planet, several criteria are followed. Initially morphological features formed the basis of identification but then other features were also taken into consideration for this purpose.
So far, more than 1.5 million species of animals, plants and microorganisms have been reported and it is estimated that the number of undescribed living species could be more than 3 million. Taxonomists claim that at least 50 million species of different organisms have become extinct in this long course of evolution. Every species of animal and plant may exist in numerous different forms, for example, they may be found in two distinct sexes, age groups, seasonal forms and other phenotypic variations . It has been noted, the possible present forms of life on land but a large number of beautiful creatures are found to inhabit deep in the oceans. Still we find certain remote narrow regions in the oceanic zones where human endeavor to explore life through modern technology do not yield fruitful (Singh, 2012).
The different characters accumulated with reference to animals provide the basis to establish relationships between taxa. Two animal species are considered to be closely related if they share more common characters. In taxonomic practice, however, if two animal species have to be considered different, it becomes essential to find actual differences between them. According to Mayr (2011) a taxonomic character is any attribute of an organism by which a member of a taxon differs or may differ from a member of another taxon. Any attribute of an organism may be useful as a taxonomic feature if it show difference from the equivalent features in members of another taxon. Every group of organism e.g. moths, butterflies, mollusks, starfishes, fishes or birds possess different taxonomic characters. Thus a taxonomist has to be well trained to be familiar to deal with organism of a particular taxon (Mayr, 2011).
The present form of classification which adopted to classify the organisms is the outcome of the efforts of biologists especially taxonomists. Taxonomy helps us to organize huge amounts of knowledge about organisms because all members of a particular group share many characteristics. It allows us to make predictions and frame hypotheses for further research based on knowledge of similar organisms. It places them in useful groups with precise names so that researchers can work with them and communicate efficiently. Study of taxonomic features allows the construction of databases that can be used for a further rapid identification of organisms in the laboratory work (Singh, 2012).
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