taxonomy

Carl Linnaeus – ‘Princeps Botanicorum’, the Prince of Botany

Carl Linnaeus – ‘Princeps Botanicorum’, the Prince of Botany

On May 23, 1707, Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist Carl Linnaeus – or after his ennoblement Carl von Linné or more fashionable in Latin Carolus Linnaeus – was born. Linnaeus formalised the modern system of naming organisms called binomial nomenclature. He is known by the epithet “father of modern taxonomy“. “Every genus is natural, created as such in the beginning, hence not to be rashly split up or stuck together by whim or according to anyone’s…
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Melvil Dewey and the Dewey Decimal System

Melvil Dewey and the Dewey Decimal System

On December 10, 1851, Melvil Dewey, librarian and inventor of the Dewey Decimal classification system for libraries, the DDC, was born. Early Years Melvil Dewey was born as Melville Louis Kossuth Dewey into a rather poor family in the upper New York state. After a school-fire, he was told to live only for one more year and became obsessed with efficiency, wherefore he gained his interest in simplified spelling early. Dewey left…
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Joseph Dalton Hooker and Taxonomy

Joseph Dalton Hooker and Taxonomy

On June 30, 1817, Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker was born, one of the greatest British botanists and explorers of the 19th century. Hooker was a founder of geographical botany and Charles Darwin‘s [4] closest friend. Furthermore, he was assistant on Sir James Ross‘s [3] Antarctic expedition and whose botanical travels to foreign lands included India, Palestine and the U.S., from which he became a leading taxonomists in his time. Joseph Dalton Hooker…
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George Shaw and the Platypus

George Shaw and the Platypus

On July 22, 1813, English botanist and zoologist George Shaw passed away. Shaw published one of the first English descriptions with scientific names of several Australian animals including the very first scientific description of the platypus. Shaw was born at Bierton, Buckinghamshire and was educated by his father until 1765 when he entered Magdalen College, Oxford, receiving his B.A. in 1769 and his M.A. in 1772. He was ordained deacon in 1774.…
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John Lindley and his Love for Plants

John Lindley and his Love for Plants

On February 5, 1799, English botanist, gardener and orchidologist John Lindley was born. His attempts to formulate a natural system of plant classification greatly aided the transition from the artificial (considering the characters of single parts) to the natural system (considering all characters of a plant). He made the first definitive orchid classification in 1830. John Lindley was born in Catton, near Norwich, England, as one of four children of George Linley,…
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John Ray and the Classification of Plants

John Ray and the Classification of Plants

On November 29, 1627, English naturalist John Ray was born. He published important works on botany, zoology, and natural theology. His classification of plants in his Historia Plantarum, was an important step towards modern taxonomy. He advanced scientific empiricism against the deductive rationalism of the scholastics and was the first to give a biological definition of the term species. During his childhood, John Ray enjoyed watching his father working in the forge…
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Robert Morison and the Classification of Plants

Robert Morison and the Classification of Plants

Robert Morison (1620–1683) On November 10, 1683, Scottish botanist and taxonomist Robert Morison passed away. A forerunner of naturalist John Ray, he elucidated and developed the first systematic classification of plants. Born in 1620 in Aberdeen, Scotland, as son of John Morison and his wife Anna Gray, Robert Morison was an outstanding scholar who gained his Master of Arts degree and Ph.D. from the University of Aberdeen at the age of eighteen. He devoted himself at first to mathematics, and studied…
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