MadSci Network: General Biology

Re: why is it important for scientists to classify organisams?

Date: Sun Oct 24 19:25:26 2004
Posted By: Marcus Knight, Staff, Planetcare Science, Private Conservation Permaculture Consulting
Area of science: General Biology
ID: 1095892140.Gb

Taxonomy, as it is known, is the arrangment of all living things into established groups according 
to their physical observed characteristics, or in modern times by the similarities in their DNA 
sequences. Why is it important?  Well, to put it simply, if we can't categorize and describe what we 
have, we don't know what we have.  In order to understand, appreciate, study, and discuss the 
amazing variety of life on earth, we have to have a standardized language to talk about it.  With 
the taxonomic classification system, scientists who live in different countries and speak different 
languages can study the same organism- and be SURE they are studying the same organism.  
Imagine what it would be like if scientists had to learn hundreds of different local names for each 

On a practical note, it is important information for plant scientists who interbreed crops, and and 
for biologists to determine which species is closest to man for medical experiments, without we 
wouldn't enjoy the quality of life we have today. 

Ref, Reader Digest Library of Essential Knowledge.- and info. from

-some commentary by Erin Cram, MadSci Moderator

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