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ALL ABOUT WHALES!
What is a Whale? Whale Information Sheets Anatomy and Behavior Extreme Whales Whale Myths Whale Evolution Whale Classification Whale Glossary Whale Activities Whale Index

Whale Classification
Mysticeti,
Baleen Whales
Odontoceti,
Toothed Whales
Archaeoceti
Extinct, Primitive Whales
Taxonomy and Cladistics


TAXONOMY

Taxonomy is the science of classifying organisms into groups by structure, origin, common ancestor, etc. One goal is to recognize the inherent order in nature. Taxonomic classifications are used to organize cetacean species and understand how animals are related to each other as time progresses. Two taxonomic systems are used, modern cladistics and the older Linnaean system.

1. Cladistics is a method of classifying organisms by common ancestry, based on the branching of the evolutionary family tree. Organisms that share common ancestors (and therefore have similar features) are grouped into taxonomic groups called clades. Cladistics can also be used to predict properties of yet-to-be discovered organisms. Phylogenetic systematics is a method of classification based on the evolutionary history of organisms, dividing organisms into meaningful groups and subgroups. It was developed by Willi Hennig, an entomologist, in 1950, but was not well accepted until decades later.

Cladistics is based on three principles:
  • Groups of organisms are descended from a common ancestor.
  • At each node (divergence of a population), there are two branching lines of descendants.
  • Evolution results in modifications of characteristics over time.

A cladogram is a branching diagram that depicts species divergence from common ancestors. They show the distribution and origins of shared characteristics. Cladograms are testable hypotheses of phylogenetic relationships.



Carolus Linnaeus 2. The Swedish scientist Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778) developed the two-name (Genus and Species) system for identifying and classifying living things. The Linnaean System is based on a simple hierarchical structure in which organisms are sorted using the nomenclature of Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus and Species. Organisms belonging to the same kingdom are not necessarily very similar; organisms belonging to the same species are very similar and can produce offspring.


Taxonomic Classification

TAXON* KILLER WHALE HUMAN
Kingdom
Phylum
Class
Order
Family
Genus
Species
Animalia
Chordata
Mammalia
Cetacea
Delphinidae
Orcinus
orca
Animalia
Chordata
Mammalia
Primates
Hominidae
Homo
sapiens
*Extra taxon levels can be used when needed (for example, suborders).

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(Already a member? Click here.)
EnchantedLearning.com
ALL ABOUT WHALES!
What is a Whale? Whale Information Sheets Anatomy and Behavior Extreme Whales Whale Myths Whale Evolution Whale Classification Whale Glossary Whale Activities Whale Index

Whale Classification
Mysticeti,
Baleen Whales
Odontoceti,
Toothed Whales
Archaeoceti
Extinct, Primitive Whales
Taxonomy and Cladistics




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