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

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14
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6answers
1k 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?
13
votes
3answers
2k views

When has an organism evolved enough to be called a new species?

Imagine that we take a population of horses, split them in half and place them in completely different environments. The two species will evolve separate from each other and because the environment is ...
12
votes
2answers
139 views

How to decide which is the correct scientific name for a particular species

To start with, I am not a person having sound knowledge in biology. When I started my search for phyto-chemicals in a particular family in the plant kingdom, I got confused. The scientific papers use ...
9
votes
6answers
1k 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' ...
9
votes
5answers
2k 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, because Homo sapiens species is only 200,000 years old, ...
9
votes
2answers
133 views

Acknowledging differentiation of species, in historical times

This is at least partly an historical question, and I am not even remotely a biologist of any sort, so apologies beforehand if it's a little obscure. I often wonder how many distinctions were made in ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Species with reproduction barriers that can both reproduce with a third species

To start with, I do not have a sound knowledge in biology or any formal education in the area. I was told that one of the definition of a species is a reproductive barrier, which means that if two ...
9
votes
1answer
97 views

To which distinctions does the term “hymenoptera” refer?

Hymenoptera is an order of insects that includes bees, ants, and wasps. A quick search gives the following etymological analysis of the term hymenoptera. hymen (membrane) + pteron (wing) Does ...
9
votes
1answer
155 views

Is it correct to regard archeaic humans (i.e.n Neanderthals and Denisovans) as distinct species to Homo sapiens?

There is increasing evidence (e.g. here) that Homo sapiens interbred with contemporary homonins such as Homo neanderthalensis and the "Denisovans". Although these homonins do show differences in their ...
8
votes
1answer
299 views

Is sexual reproduction outside the same biological family possible? Has it ever occured successfully?

Are there any examples of two species taxonomically classified in different biological families that have successfully hybridized and produced viable offspring? If not, is there an example of where ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Does the use of “var”, “x”, and/or “ssp” in a scientific name provide specific information?

What exactly does it mean when a plant has a scientific name that specifies a vairety, for example Nothofagus solandri var. cliffortioides, or when the name includes an "x", as in Populus ...
7
votes
2answers
487 views

Which phylum appeared most recently

I'm aware that our earliest records of many major animal and plant phyla come from the Cambrian or Precambrian periods, and I'm also vaguely aware of some of the objections raised with general concept ...
6
votes
2answers
483 views

Goats are so fearless but sheep are not. Is there any genetic difference responsible?

As you see in the picture goats (not only wild goats) are so fearless, but I never saw any sheep do this. What is the source of this difference in behavior?
6
votes
3answers
253 views

Where can I find the common names for the zoology taxonomy?

Forgive me if my question does not belong here or if I'm using incorrect terms, but I'm not educated in biology at all. I'm investigating the workings of the biological classification system. I was ...
6
votes
1answer
135 views

If life is discovered on another planet, will it likely be classified using the current domain/kingdom/phylum system?

This may be a stupid question showing my lack of understanding of taxonomy, but I was wondering if the current classification system we use contains broad enough categories to include new life forms, ...
6
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
115 views

On which date did the official name change of Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis change?

When did the change of official name from Lactobacillus sanfrancisco to Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis happen? An answer ((to the exact day OR within a few days) AND the name of the conference at ...
6
votes
2answers
611 views

How many species did Carl Linnaeus classify?

How many species did Carl Linnaeus (senior) classify?
6
votes
1answer
133 views

Could someone recommend a book for surveying species?

I'm trying to get/renew basic knowledge of species. Could someone recommend a book for surveying "important"/"representational" species? I am looking for a book with good illustrations and that covers ...
5
votes
2answers
334 views

What does the 34/70 in Saccharomyces pastorianus Weihenstephan 34/70 stand for?

I've searched everywhere. No Wikipedia page. No information on NCBI. I searched all occurrences of 34/70 in some primary research articles! The best I've found is this brewery forum where someone ...
5
votes
1answer
705 views

What's the opposite of a thermophile?

Thermophiles, heat-loving organisms, have been a popular topic of research for decades due in large part to the utility of their enzymes in various chemical reactions (Taq Pol single-enzymedly made ...
5
votes
2answers
136 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Online course on Plant Taxonomy and Physiology

After following a course in Permaculture, I realised that if I want to get serious about it, I need to be able to distinguish plants. So I am looking for an online Video course on Plant Taxonomy and ...
4
votes
1answer
58 views

How to determine whether a newly discovered dinosaur is not a young one and not an entirely different species?

Every once in a while, there is an official announce that a new species has been discovered. For example, paleontologists have recently discovered a dinosaur they named Nanuqsaurus hoglundi, which ...
3
votes
1answer
325 views

Family tree for edible plants?

I am looking for a family tree for plants, particularly veg / herbs / fruit. Something similar to: If it could be slightly less technical than all the Latin ...
3
votes
1answer
51 views

How can this bird be identified? Can someone please identify this bird?

These photographs have been taken in Warora, India. Could someone please help identify this bird?
3
votes
3answers
722 views

Polymorphism in cnidarians?

To me, the phenomenon of polymorphism in cnidarians is particularly troubling. I gather that it essentially refers to existence of various different forms or kinds of individuals, i.e. zooids and ...
3
votes
3answers
68 views

Is there a downloadable list of all species along with their traditional classification?

I'm looking for a downloadable list of all known (or better said, online documented) species in this straightforward format, as an example the European Frog: Kingdom: Animalia Division: Chordata ...
3
votes
2answers
135 views

What is the species of these mushrooms?

The mushrooms are gilled with a light-brown cap. The stem is widened to the base. What species is it? Is it considered edible? They are found in mixed forest in Moscow, Russia. They grow in the ...
3
votes
1answer
106 views

An unexpected mushroom in my garden

My grandma is a great fan of mushrooms and knows quite a lot about them. About 10 years ago, she started throwing out mushroom remnants in one special place, in order to grow her own mushrooms. In ...
2
votes
2answers
52 views

Is the tomato a very very close relative of the pepper?

I ask because if you look at a tomato, the way it grows on a vine, its color, the texture, and make up of its skin and internal structure it seems very much like a pepper. The only thing I can think ...
2
votes
1answer
89 views

What insect is this..?

Can anyone tell me what kind of insect (if it is one) is this...!! Or is it the pupa of some insect? Well I don't think that the whole big thing is the insect itself, it appears to be just a kind of ...
2
votes
2answers
320 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
4k views

Why are bacteria and archaea in different domains?

As I understand it, the main difference between the Bacteria and the Eucaryota domains are that eukaryotes have a nucleus and bacteria don't. I understand that bacteria and archaebacteria have enough ...
2
votes
1answer
47 views

Citing species in a biology article

My question concern the abbreviation of the genus of a species. I talk about two species: Amphiprion clarkii and Amphiprion perideraion. Question 1 Let's assume I haven't said a word about these ...
2
votes
1answer
23 views

Meaning of the word Oleracea

What does "oleracea", as appears in numerous plant species (scientific) names, mean? Examples: Euterpa oleracea, Brassica oleracea, Portulaca oleracea, Acmella oleracea, Spilanthes oleracea.
1
vote
2answers
471 views

What is the most complex plant form?

At school we were told on scale of 0 through 1000 the animal kingdom ranges from amoeba the simplest/primitive being at 0, and Humans the most complex animals at 1000; what are the equivalent ...
1
vote
2answers
523 views

Are mature RBCs prokaryotic?

Mature mammalian RBCs have all the characteristics of a eukaryotic cell except that they don't have a nucleus, they don't have any cell organelles. Does this mean that RBCs are classified as ...
1
vote
1answer
108 views

Birds and Dinosaurs

This came up in an argument with some friends. I know that birds are direct descendants of dinosaurs, shown pretty clearly through the fossil record. However, is it proper to say that birds are ...
1
vote
1answer
39 views

What is the difference between these terms: clade, monophyletic group and taxon?

Wikipedia definitions for these terms are pretty similar: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clade http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monophyletic_group http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxon They sound like the ...
1
vote
2answers
32 views

Could alpha-numeric taxonomy of fungi make things simpler?

Please feel free to construe this question broadly--I don't see why the question would not apply to branches of biology other than mycology. If the goal of taxonomy is to create classification of ...
1
vote
1answer
25 views

Usage of the taxonomic classification “Pinnipedia”

According to ITIS the classification Pinnipedia is invalid, and it is proposed to rather use Caniformia. The later group however includes a range of terrestrial animals as opposed to the pinnipeds ...
1
vote
1answer
144 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
29 views

Information and image of Genus Acesina

I am searching for image and information, like distribution etc of the genus Acesina. The Taxonomic tree is: ...
0
votes
0answers
26 views

What observations would confirm or refute that an Nanobe is a living organism?

No conclusive evidence exists that Nanobe structures are, or are not, living organisms, so their classification is controversial. What observations would confirm or refute that an Nanobe is a living ...
-2
votes
1answer
30 views

What is the smallest known organism with a skeleton? [closed]

See question title. After doing some looking around on my own I haven't found much so I figured I'd ask some experts.
-3
votes
1answer
380 views

Which plants live for more than one year and less than two years? [closed]

What kinds of plants live for more than one year and less than two years? Are there any categorical or taxonomical names for such plants?