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Carl Linnaeus - Father of Taxonomy

Image of Carl Linnaeus Carl Linnaeus was born in Småland in southern Sweden in 1707. He was a pioneer in the classification of living things. The system of classification he devised is called Linnaean Taxonomy. Linnaean taxonomy is used even to this day, with many modifications. Linnaeus loved plants deeply. All through his life, he was passionately involved in the study of plants and of life in general. After making significant contributions to the study of living things, he died in 1778.

One of the most important parts of the system made by Linnaeus is the binomial nomenclature. Linnaeus always had a feeling of awe for nature. The idea of binomial nomenclature is that the scientific name of a species consists of the genus name and the specific descriptor (the species name).

Carl Linnaeus was a great believer and the idea that one could understand more about God's wisdom by learning God's creation led him on a path to understanding more about nature. Carl Linnaeus studied medicine and botany at the Universities of Lund, Uppsala, Harderwijk, and Leiden (the last two places are in Netherlands). To learn about plants by direct investigation and by discussions with other experts on plants, he traveled somewhat widely within Europe.

Carl Linnaeus worked as a physician and a professor, and he was made a nobleman by the Swedish king in 1757.

Here is Carl Linnaeus' classification scheme in a nutshell: Nature is divided into three Kingdoms. Each Kingdom is divided into Classes, which are further divided into Orders. Orders are divided into Genera (plural of genus) and a Genera is in turn, divided into Species (plural of species). Although the principles behind teh classifications have become more sophisticated as a result of the further advances in the field of biology, including the theory of evolution and the discovery of the DNA.

Important books by Carl Linnaeus

  • Systema Naturae - A description of Linnaeus' classificatory ststem.
  • Philosophia Botanica - A good summary of his work on the classification of plants.
  • Flora Lapponica - About the plantlife of Lapland, in northernmost Sweden, where he went on an expedition as a student
  • A tour in Lapland - A journal of Linnaeus' Lapland journey.

Some really good books about Linnaeus and his studies

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