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How to classify Nomenclature of Living Beings

Do you know the process of nomenclature of living beings? In this article you will find the procedure of nomenclature of living beings, the necessity of nomenclature, the principle of nomenclature and advantages of nomenclature.


Naming the species is known as nomenclature. When a taxonomist identifies and describes the natural group of organisms, he gives appropriate scientific names to the group. This process of identification and naming of an organisms is known as nomenclature .

Necessity of nomenclature

The use of native or common names often creates confusion. Very often a particular organism has different names in different regions of the world e.g. the common house sparrow is called Gauriya in North India, Pichehuka in Andhra Pradesh, House sparrow in England, Pardal in Spain, Suzune in Japan and so on. If a person goes to some other place then he will not be able to understand about the bird unless he sees it. To solve this problem Carolus Linnaeus introduced the modern system nomenclature. There are two main system of nomenclature:
  • Binomial Nomenclature

  • Trinomial or polynomial nomenclature

Binomial Nomenclature

Carolus Linnaeus introduced binomial nomenclature in his tenth edition of Systema Naturae published in 1758. Systema Naturae contained the scientific name of plants and animals. Carolus Linnaeus used Latin words to name plants and animals. Binomial nomenclature is the system of naming every organism using two Latin words. The first word is generic name which begins with the first letter as capital. The second word is specific name which begins with first letter as small italic. e.g. The lion has its scientific name as Panthera leo . Panthera is a generic name and leo is the specific name.

Rules of binomial nomenclature: The rules of binomial nomenclature are:
  • Each organism is given only one name having two words, generic and specific.
  • The generic name is written first and is followed by specific name and then the name of discoverer in full or in abbreviation.
  • The generic name begins with first latter as capital, whereas specific name begins with first letter as small.
  • Both the names should be printed in italics. If hand written, then scientific names should be underlined.
  • The name of author or discoverer should be written in Roman script.
  • The original names were taken from Latin and Greek languages.
  • The names of families and subfamilies should be based on name of type of genus.

Trinomial or Polynomial nomenclature

Sometimes organisms of same species differs from each other as they are adapted for different kinds of environment. In such cases species are again divided into subspecies. Thus, scientific name of such organisms consists of three words. The first word indicates generic name and begins with first letter as capital. The second word is specific name and begins with first letter as small and the third word is the subspecies name which also begins with first letter as small. This system of naming the organisms using three words is called as trinomial nomenclature. E.g. the species of crow is named as Corvus splendens but crows of India, Burma and Sri Lanka differ from each other, thus they are divided into three subspecies, which are named according to trinomial nomenclature as follows:
  1. Indian crow : Corvus splendens splendens
  2. Burmese crow: Corvus splendens insolens
  3. Lankaian crow: Corvus splendens protegalus

Principle of Binomial Nomenclature

In the year 1898, International Congress of Zoology and in 1950 International Botanical Congress set up the various rules for binomial nomenclature. The aim of international Code for Botanical and Zoological Nomenclature is to make the stability in naming the taxa, avoiding the use of names which may cause error, ambiguity or confusion. A few commonly followed rules according to principle of nomenclature are given below:
  1. The system of nomenclature adopted must be binomial to indicate the name of the species and trinomial fore the name of sub species.
  2. The scientific names must be in Latin word.
  3. The first word of scientific name is the generic name which begins with a capital letter. The specific name should begin with a small letter.
  4. No two genera can have same name in a kingdom, and no two species can have the same name within a genera.
  5. the name of author who first publishes the name when describing it should follow the species name and should rarely be abbreviated and is printed in Roman type. For example , scientific name of man is Homo sapiens Linnaeus. Generally last word is represented by letter "L".
  6. The generic name or specific name first published is the only one recognized. All duplicate names are considered as synonyms.

Advantages of Biological nomenclature

The advantages of nomenclature are as follows:
  • A wrong name can easily be corrected.
  • A newly discovered organism should be provided with a new scientific name.
  • The names have universal application for all the countries and languages.
  • As the letters of scientific names derived from dead Latin or Greek languages, therefore, there is no possibility of any change in spelling of scientific name.


Now from above the explanation you would be able to write scientific name of any organism. The scientific names of some common organisms are :
  • Man: Homo sapiens
  • Tiger: Panthera tigris
  • Frog: Rana tigrina
  • Cobra: Naja naja
  • Rat: Rattus rattus
  • Rabbit: Oryctolagus cuniculus
  • Earthworm: Pheretima posthuma
  • Cat: Felis domestica
  • Dog: Canis familiaris
  • Elephant: Elephas indicus
  • Monkey: Macaca species
  • Cow: Bos indicus
  • buffalo: Bos bubalus
  • Housefly: Musca domestica

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Author: jenny10 May 2017 Member Level: Gold   Points : 4

Grouping things on the basis of common features are called classification. Classification helps us to study all living things in a systematic manner. The importance of classification of plants and animals led to a uniform system of naming plants and animals. Binomial system of Nomenclature was proposed by Carolus Linnaeus a Swedish botanist.The system has been adopted throughout the world.

Linnaeus was a physician and zoologist, he is credited for the modern scheme of nomenclature. He is known as the father of modern taxonomy. He was born in Sweden and was trained to become churchman, but his interest in botany made him become renowned botanist of his time.

I add here some more scientific names of animals and plants:

Lion: Panthera Leo
Leopard: Panthera pardus
Mango: Mangifera indica
Pea: Pisum sativum
Maize: Zea mays
Cabbage: Brassica oleracea
Cauliflower: Brassica oleracea
Rice: Oryza sativa
Melon: Cucumis melo
Cucumber: Cucumis sativa
Banana: Musa paradisica

Author: Venkiteswaran07 Jan 2018 Member Level: Gold   Points : 2

Systematic grouping and study needs some systematic naming first. The naming should follow a universally applicable and follow able parameter and norms.

This becomes all the more important in the field of science and scientific studies of living things. As there are different living things in different part of the globe, only a proper system of nomenclature can help the scientists across the world to discover and name and categorise them int o correct groups or species family.

The article gives interesting reading even to a layman who has not studied biology or zoology in detail.

Author: Umesh16 Dec 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 3

A piece of good information given in the article for scientific nomenclature and classification being followed across the globe for consistency and uniformity.

As the language of this nomenclature is latin or Greek it is confined to the scientific and educational circles only and the general public does not have a feel of it due to the unfamiliar words used in the classification.

From that point of view, this is a very useful article for those people who have no exposure to this nomenclature scheme.

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