Questions on the classification of biological organisms, and the methods used for classifying them.

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Anemiaceae etymology

What is the etymology of the name Anemiaceae for a family of ferns? I assume that it's from the name Anemia for one of its genera, but that is equally mysterious. Obviously it has no blood, but what ...
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2answers
29 views

Etymology of the term monilophyte

I would like to know the origin of the term Monilophyta. I know it's from Kenrick and Crane, but where did they get monilo-? It's not in my enormous Liddell and Scott Greek dictionary, nor is there ...
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0answers
20 views

Readers in biological nomenclature

I know that a binomial name may be followed by the name of the reader who has been the first to identify the species and to give it that binomial name. It is not completely clear to me what the same ...
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1answer
40 views

How to correctly and accurately identify a few species of trees from their leaves(including multiple leaves and part of the branch)?

I want to identify a tree from one of the 12 species listed based on observing their branch and leaves. Is there quick and neat way to do it? Red Oak, White Oak, Red Maple, Striped Maple, Tulip ...
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1answer
26 views

How are subspecies defined, in contrast to species? [duplicate]

When should a taxon be considered to be a subspecies of a certain species, and when as a different species? Are there some general guidelines how to assign a specific taxonomic status to a taxon?
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145 views

What is a subspecies?

Within a species there may be subspecies that are named using trinomial nomenclautre. For example the Grizzly Bear, Ursus arctos horribilis is a subspecies of the Brown Bear Ursus arctos. The ...
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2answers
106 views

Binomial nomenclature: Why am I seeing different genera with the same species name?

I have looked online but still do not understand how two organisms can have the the same species names but be in different genera? Do all genera share common species names? Also which would be more ...
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1answer
24 views

Are platyhellmintes and annelids segmented?

Are the organisms of platyhelminthes unsegmented worms or segment? And what about those belonging to annelida? I guess Platyhelminthes are unsegmented and annelida are segmented but i am not sure ...
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5answers
9k views

Do humans have enough biological differences to be grouped into races or subspecies?

After my online research on the subject, I learnt that, biologically speaking, many scientists believe that there is no such thing as a race. Homo sapiens as a species is only 200,000 years old, which ...
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19 views

Protostomia classification and characteristics

While working through a practice test for my final exam in an introductory organism biology course, I came across this question: Protostome characteristics include which of the following? a) a ...
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0answers
16 views

Machine-readable APG III trees?

Does anyone know where I can find a machine-readable version of the phylogenetic trees from APG III? I'm looking for something that contains the full tree structure, including unnamed branches. ...
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1answer
82 views

What is the difference between taxonomical aids Flora, Manual and Catalogue?

The three type of books mentioned above are taxonomical aids that offer information about species found in an area. However, the exact difference between them is not clear to me. Please explain.
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108 views

Why are hybrid offspring mostly sterile? [closed]

Hybrid infertility is a common trait in cross-species offspring. Most are sterile, as they do not produce viable gametes. Examples of this can include Ligers and Mules. Could modern advancement in ...
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6answers
4k views

Why isn't a virus “alive”?

The recent news about a new supermassive virus being discovered got me thinking. What biological differences between viruses and cellular organisms have made viruses be deemed non-living?
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0answers
7 views

Difference on biological classification [duplicate]

Why we use term phylum for kingdom animali and use them division for kingdom planti ,prokaryota and fungi? Both are same taxanomical rank What difference between phylum and division ??
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1answer
55 views

How do I read a species description that uses both ≡ (triple bar) and “incl.” to denote synonymy?

I'm trying to understand the relationship of plants formerly classified as Dorstenia crispa with distinct individuals continuously classified as Dorstenia foetida. I would assume that the distinctive ...
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1answer
46 views

How do we know that ammonites are a kind of cephalopod rather than another type of mollusc?

On a recent fossil hunting trip, I found a small fossil that an expert identified for me as an ammonite beak. He told me such fossils are not uncommon, but are not normally found with their parent ...
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1answer
105 views

Was the dodo a dinosaur?

I've always believed that the dodo was a dinosaur, I don't know exactly why. I've done some searching on the internet, but except for toy stores selling "Dodo the Dinosaur's" I didn't find anything ...
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4 views

Where should one start if they want to go about identifying phytoplankton and dinoflagellates?

I'm a first year university student and I really need help on how to identify and recognize the different organisms observed in my water samples. Are there any good references/tips on how to?
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0answers
17 views

Why are bovines different genera if they can interbreed?

Why are bovinae a "subfamily", above Genus, when members can interbreed? Some like the beefalo are fertile, which is the normal defining characteristic of a species. And Genus are groups more ...
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3answers
1k views

How many (taxonomic) families are there?

Approximately, how many families have been identified? I've often often come across figures for the total number of species on Earth. Recently, I found myself wondering about the encompassing ranks ...
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1answer
621 views

Difference between Category, Rank and Taxon

Is there any differences between the terms Category, Rank and Taxon or they all are same? I remember an explanation which goes on like this: Category and Rank are the same and are the categories of ...
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1answer
32 views

Clarification about taxon (plural taxa)

If i am right, then any category placed at any rank in the taxonomical hierarchy is a taxon. For example Panthera, Mammalia, Solanaceae etc. But are general group of organism (casual groups which are ...
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1answer
62 views

Identifying flying insect from northern Poland / Baltic Sea area

Found during this year vacations at Baltic Sea (northern parts of Poland): I don't have a picture containing other object, for size verification, but I'd say, that it was 3-4 cm long. There were ...
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3answers
160 views

Insect identification: white spotted beetle

3 pairs of legs, a pair of antenna, wings absent, compound eye, 4-6 centimeter approx. in size. I found this beetle at my door, in Pune, India.
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1answer
44 views

Why do we spend so much time on creating taxonomies? [closed]

I spent 3 years building a taxonomic database of plant specimens for the Missouri Botanical Gardens (http://www.tropicos.org/). Myself and two other programmers used a modern database and web pages to ...
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1answer
28 views

What is the difference between Ostracodermi and Placodermi

I looked the word origin and found Placodermi is PLATE SKINNED while Ostracodermi is Shell Skinned. Can you please explain the difference between being Plate skinned and Shell skinned?
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2answers
658 views

Colourful aquatic animal identification

Of what species is the following creature? I expect it would be a Cephalopod living in not too deep water with a tropical climate (Brazil?). However, I can not find any information about what ...
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2answers
2k views

How many species did Carl Linnaeus classify?

How many species did Carl Linnaeus (senior) classify?
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1answer
282 views

Regarding the kingdom Animalia, which phylogenic tree is more common: Molecular Comparisons or Body-Plan Grades

In the picture below, which I obviously do not own: it depicts two different phylogenic trees, one which is based on molecular comparisons and another one which is based on body-plan grades. My ...
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1answer
38 views

Application of Latin names for Taxonomy

The current taxonomy has family names like Canidae and Felidae. But Felidae has sub families like Felinae and Pantherinae. Roaring cats and non-roaring cats. My question is based on the fact that we ...
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1answer
294 views

What is the scientific name of this evergreen plant?

This plant is found in India. It is an evergreen plant. Would love to know the scientific name.
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1answer
367 views

Can scientists name themselves in the scientific name when they discover a new taxon?

There are sometimes people names in taxonomy, like Myotis keenii was names after Mr. Keen who contributed to discover the species. So, if you discover a species and someone else is constructing the ...
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2answers
89 views

Characters do not make the genus, but the genus gives the characters?

In his Origin of species, in the chapter entitled 'Mutual Affinities of Organic Beings: Morphology: Embryology: Rudimentary Organs', Darwin, speaking of the nature of classification systems of living ...
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1answer
121 views

Can all animals of the same species crossbreed?

For example, take Canis lupus, the species of dog and wolf. Within their species, can all dog and wolf types crossbreed? We can forget the logistics and assume this is all done through artificial ...
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1answer
554 views

What is the scientific name of this plant?

I found this one on a hill here in Palestine. It's about 20 cm in height. Note that it does exist in this regions, but scantily.
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2answers
61 views

What ways are there to determine how big genera are?

I want to look at genera as a whole, across the animal kingdom to determine the range of sizes of genera. I have examined species richness and genetic diversity (pairwise distance from sequence data ...
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1answer
147 views

Does Pseudomonas aeruginosa have any common name at all?

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the fifth most written about¹ binomial name of all species. I'm having trouble coming to terms with the possibility that such a well researched and studied organism has never ...
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1answer
159 views

Why are Oxyuranus snake species named Taipan?

It is interesting, why are Oxyuranus species called Taipan. The snakes are Australian but taipan looks like of Chinese origin word (it means big shot - important person).
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2answers
1k views

Why is a slow worm not considered a snake?

Slow worms are considered lizards as opposed to snakes, both are reptiles. Now I get that there are traits that distinguish them (eye lids, ears ...). But snake species themselves vary already quite a ...
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91 views

How can green algae be both multicellular and unicellular?

How can green algae be both multicellular and unicellular? What are the cases in which it can be both uni and multi cellular?
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2answers
677 views

Why is Portuguese man o' war considered a colony?

The wikipedia entry on the Portuguese man o' war says: ... the Portuguese man o' war is ... not actually a single multicellular organism but a colonial organism made up of many highly specialized ...
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1answer
293 views

Evolutionary distance between Canidae, Felidae, and Rodentia

Comparing the families Canidae and Felidae, which have the shorter evolutionary distance to the order Rodentia? Less sophisticatedly put, are cats or dogs more related to rodents?
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1answer
56 views

Mammal vs Placental Mammal

So for Google Earth Day's quiz I ended up being a "Pangolin." Turns out I had no idea what it was so I looked into it and honestly it reminded me a lot of an Armadillo. So I decided to find out the ...
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1answer
45 views

Are prosauropods ancestors of all sauropods?

My daughter, while reading a book about dinosaurs, asked me if prosauropods are ancestors of all sauropods. Are they? From the name ("pro-sauropods"), I guess that they are, but am I right?
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6answers
2k views

Human evolution: Where *exactly* did the first human come from, whose parents were not?

Layman here. So I have never really quite understood this facet of human evolution, (or any other for that matter), in that, I understand the evolutionary process, but I get lost on the 'border' ...
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1answer
8k views

What is the proper format for genus and species names in latin?

When using the latin nomenclature for a fish in printed materials (such as Sander vitreus for walleye), what is the correct capitalization of each word? In this example, should 'S' be uppercase ...
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1answer
148 views

Relationship between leaf structure and Photosynthesis rate

We can see numerous leaf structures in plant kingdom. As the leaves are designed for photosynthesis, their structure must be a factor for any optimization in photosynthesis or chlorophyll ...
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2answers
3k views

Why animals can move and plants cannot in general?

To clarify, I think the answer should be able to explain: What are animals? What are plants? What's the difference between animals and plants (How do biologists differentiate them, if they ...
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1answer
76 views

List of dinosaurs synonyms

Is there a comprehensive list of dinosaurs synonyms with indications of which name is now considered correct? Something like "there's no brontosaurus, there's only Apatosaurus", "there's no ...