Biological classification

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Biological classification, or scientific classification in biology, is a method by which biologists group and categorize organisms by biological type, such as genus or species. Biological classification is a form of scientific taxonomy.

Modern biological classification has its root in the work of Carolus Linnaeus, who grouped species according to shared physical characteristics. These groupings have since been revised to improve consistency with the Darwinian principle of common descent. Molecular phylogenetics, which uses DNA sequences as data, has driven many recent revisions and is likely to continue to do so. Biological classification belongs to the science of biological systematics.

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Taxonomic ranks

In biological classification, rank is the level (the relative position) in a hierarchy. Sometimes (but only rarely) the term "taxonomic category" is used instead of "rank". There are 7 main ranks defined by the international nomenclature codes: Kingdom, phylum/division, class, order, family, genus, species. "Domain", a level above kingdom, has become popular in recent years, but has not been accepted into the codes.

The most basic rank is that of species, the next most important is genus, and then family.

The International Code of Zoological Nomenclature defines rank, in the nomenclatural sense, as:

The level, for nomenclatural purposes, of a taxon in a taxonomic hierarchy (e.g. all families are for nomenclatural purposes at the same rank, which lies between superfamily and subfamily). The ranks of the family group, the genus group, and the species group at which nominal taxa may be established are stated in Articles 10.3, 10.4, 35.1, 42.1 and 45.1.[1]

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