In biology, taxonomy is the science of classification and naming of living organisms based on similar measurable characteristics.

The basic scheme of modern classification. Many other levels can be used; the highest level, domain, is both new and disputed. image: wikipedia

Wikipedia notes that:

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.


An example of taxonomy of vertebrates, animals with backbones, over geological time. This is also known as a spindle diagram. image: wikipedia


A similar diagram called a cladogram that highlights common ancestor.

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.

Source adapted from: axonomy (biology). (2015, October 4). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 10:33, October 5, 2015, from