More than a million species of living organisms have been discovered and described so far and a large number of them are yet to be discovered. Scientists involved in this task, called taxonomists, estimate that there may be around 30 million species of living organisms of which the known number of species forms a very small percentage.
Any systematic study on a given plant or animal can be made easier only when the organism is identified as one belonging to a particular group that has some specific characters. The vast number of plant and animal species that have been identified and described, exhibit a great deal of variation in their form, structure, mode of life and various other aspects. Unless the plants and animals are divided into discrete groups based on the differences and similarities between them, it becomes practically impossible to study them.
The scientific practice of identifying, naming and grouping of living organisms is called classification. The branches of biology that deal with classification are called taxonomy and systematic. Taxonomy, as the name indicates, deals with describing and naming organisms while systematic deals with grouping and arranging the described taxa into a hierarchical classification.
Advantages of Biological Classification
The scientific grouping of organisms has some specific advantages.
- It makes the study of living organisms convenient.
- It helps in the specific identification of any given organism.
- The study of a few representatives from each distinct group helps us to integrate the idea of life as a whole.
- It reveals the relationships among various groups of organisms.
- It provides information about plants and animals, which occur in specific geographical regions.
- It indicates the evolutionary relationship by establishing the gradually increasing complexity of form and structure in different groups of organisms.