Tuesday, January 22, 2013

History of taxonomy

The term taxon, most probably based on taxonomy, was first used by Adolf Meyer, a German biologist, on 1926 for animal groups. Its use in plant science was proposed by Herman J. Lam in 1948.

The history of taxonomy starts with Aristotle (383-322 BC). Aristotle evidently incorporated in his work anything he was able to obtain from his predecessors, presumably mostly from the school of Hippocrates. 

Theophrastus is considered ‘the Father of Botany’ in the western countries and it is astounding to learn that he did the job of classification by observing a few plants grown in the garden of Lyceum in Athens.

The writing of Theophrastus include Enquiry into Plants and The Causes of Plants.

Taxonomy as a scientific study started in the 16th century with the works of Jean Bauhin and Gaspard Bauhin (1560-1624). Gaspard Bauhin first attempted to devise a binomial system of classification in his book Prodromes Theatri Botanici and also in Pinax Theatri Botanici. 

Linnaeus is considered as the first taxonomist who showed that the reproductive features were of paramount importance in taxonomy.

He was the originator of the sexual system of classification, in which her recognized 24 classes, mainly on the basis of number, length, union and certain other characters of stamens. He was the first to use consistently the ‘binomial system of nomenclature’.

While working in the University of Uppsala as a professor of botany and medicine, he published his species Plantarum in 1753 in which he diagnosed nearly 6000 species in 1000 genera.
History of taxonomy
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