What is taxonomy?
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What Does taxonomy Mean
Taxonomy has its origin in a Greek word that means "ordering . " It is the science of classification that is applied in biology for the systematic and hierarchical ordering of groups of animals and plants .
Specifically, we can determine that taxonomy is divided into two: microtaxonomy, which is responsible for delimiting and describing certain species; and macro-taxonomy, which is the one that classifies based on the criteria granted by the previous branch.
It is also important to establish that the taxonomy is closely related to what is known by the name of systematics. This can be defined as the science that is responsible for carrying out the study of kinship relationships, also called affinities, that occur between different species.
All this without overlooking the close link that exists between taxonomy and other sciences or issues such as evolution, paleontology, genetics, molecular biology, phylogeny or embryology.
The biological taxonomy is part of systematic biology, dedicated to the analysis of the relationships among organisms. Once the phylogenetic tree of the organism in question is resolved and its evolutionary branches are known, taxonomy is responsible for studying kinship relationships.
In addition to all this, it must be emphasized that when working with the taxonomy, developing it and putting it into practice, it is vital to be clear about the different concepts that are fundamental in it. This would be the case of the following:
Character, which comes to refer to the characteristics of the plant, for example.
Character status, that is, the values that the character can acquire.
Diagnostic characters are those that are clearly used to proceed to discriminate taxa.
Derived characters. They are identified for being of a dynamic type and because they can provide information about the appearance of new lineages. All this can be done by those thanks to the fact that they are the states that a character can have differently from its ancestor, since they are modified.
There are different positions regarding taxonomy, although in general it is argued that its function begins when the phylogeny of taxa is already defined . That is why taxonomy organizes the phylogenetic tree within a classification system .
The most widespread view understands taxa as clades (branches of the phylogenetic tree, with species related by a common ancestor) that have already been assigned to a taxonomic category.
The taxonomy process continues with the assignment of names (according to the principles of nomenclature), the elaboration of dichotomous identification keys and the creation of classification systems.
Taxa allow living beings to be classified based on a hierarchy of inclusion (each group includes other minors while it is subordinate to a greater one). The fundamental categories, from the most comprehensive to the least, are the domain , the kingdom , the edge or division , the class , the order , the family , the genus and the species .
It should be noted that advances in the knowledge of DNA and biodiversity problems pose great challenges for taxonomy.