There are millions of species of plants and animals, and the ability to study them requires a system for classifying them. Taxonomy is the study of how living things are related to each other. By classifying a species, it is possible to find how closely it is related to other species based on its link to a common ancestor. In this science project, you will visit a zoo, botanical garden, or other facility, find species that interest you and compare their taxonomy.
Compare the taxonomy of different species.
Taxonomy describes the system for classifying living organisms. All living species that have been classified by scientist are classified using the follow categories:
Example: The taxonomy of a black bear (Ursus americanus) is:
Example: The taxonomy of a sea lion (Scientific name: Zalophus californianus)
When we compare the taxonomy of a black bear and sea lion, we find that they share a lot in common. They share the same classifications for kingdom, phylum, and order. Their classifications differ at the level of family and genus. The lowest classification they share in common is order. This tells us that both the sea lion and the black bear have a common ancestor at this level.
Taxonomy, Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genius, Species
When comparing the taxonomy of different species, it may seem difficult to see how different species have a common ancestor. When comparing a bear to a sea lion, the only similarities that may seem evident is that they are both mammals. Sometimes species share common taxonomy based on anatomical similarities. The skull of both sea lions and bears are very similar. What does this tell you about evolution of these two animals when one is an aquatic creature and the other is terrestrial, or land living.
Questions & Answers
What is the taxonomy of a human?
Make it Your Own
Create a phylogenetic tree (see bibliography for resources).