Binomial Nomenclature

From the perspective of taxonomy, there are billions of species on earth known by their geographical names which vary from region to region thereby creating a confusion among scientists during their research. Hence, there comes the necessity for a standard type of nomenclature system and this system is only possible when we are well familiarized about the specifications of the organism.  A Biologist from all over the world follows a uniform set of principles for naming the organisms.

All living species including plants, animals, birds and also some microbes have their own scientific names.

The scientific naming or nomenclature system is therefore termed as Binomial Nomenclature or binary method of nomenclature and it was introduced by Carl Linnaeus. In this system, the first section of the name indicates the genus and the second one identifies the species.

Below are examples of binomial nomenclature system.

The scientific name of the tiger is presented as Panthera tigris. Panthera represents the ‘genus’ and Tigris represents a particular species or ‘specific epithet’.

The scientific name of humans is presented as Homo sapiens. Homo represents the ‘genus’ and sapiens represents a particular species.

Certain rules for the Binomial Nomenclature

The scientific names are recognized as individual species identifiers. This system helps in easy identifying and avoiding confusion with the different organism of the ecosystem so that a scientist can refer to a particular species. However, there are few important rules that need to be followed as standardized binomial names.

  • The entire two-part name must be written in italics.
  • The genus name should be written first and starts with a capital letter and followed by the species name with a small letter.

Some of the basic issues of binomial nomenclature are: if two or more names are currently in use, according to the law of priority, the correct name will be the one used first and the others end up being synonyms as validity is the senior synonym. Providing stability in the naming and classification of organisms must be emphasized.

If two or more names are currently in use, according to the law of priority, the correct name will be the one used first and the others end up being synonyms as validity is the senior synonym. Providing stability in the naming and classification of organisms must be emphasized.

Also, the names used prior to those included in the “Systema Naturae”, by Linnaeus are not recognized. The genus word has to be a single word beginning with a capital letter and the species name should be a compound or single word and should start with a small letter.

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Practise This Question

Who wrote the book ' The Origin of Species'?