Taxonomy is a branch of science that deals with the nomenclature, identification and classification of living organisms and the extinct organisms. We have around millions of species on Earth which are known by their local names. These names vary from place to place, creating a chaos among scientist who want to study them for research. Hence, we need a standard nomenclature system. The nomenclature of an organism is only possible when we correctly know all the specifications of the organism that describes them clearly. This process of description of an organism is known as identification. Biologists all over the world follow a set of principles for the scientific nomenclature of organisms. There are two parts in the name of an organism: Generic name and specific epithet. This two-part system of biological nomenclature is known as Binomial Nomenclature. This system of nomenclature was given by Carl Linnaeus. Let us understand the system of binomial nomenclature by taking the example of mango. The scientific name of mango is given as Mangifera indica. Mangifera indicates the ‘genus’ while indica represents a particular specie or ‘specific epithet’.
Rules for the Binomial Taxonomy Nomenclature:
- Biological names are derived from Latin words irrespective of their origin and are written in italics.
- The first word in the biological name denotes the genus whereas the second word represents specific epithet.
- Both the genus and specific epithet are separately underlined or written in italics to show the Latin origin.
- Genus should start with a capital letter and specific epithet starts with a small letter.
- Name of the author is written after the specific epithet in the abbreviated form. It denotes the name of the person who described the species first Example: Mangifera indica Linn. In this Linn indicates the Biologist Linnaeus who first described the species of mango.
It is very difficult to study each and every organism and remember its specifications. So we need to classify the species. This process of dividing species into certain groups is known as biological classification. Characterization, identification and classification are the basic processes of taxonomy nomenclature.