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Organisms having life are known as living beings. Living organisms are having the similar structural elements like the non-living objects. But they are having the following basic features . Basic features of living things 1.All living organisms grow Increase in body mass is considered as growth. Body mass increases as result of cell division. In plants, growth by cell division occurs continuously throughout their life span. In animals, the growth is seen only up to a certain age. 2. Living organisms has the ability to reproduce Reproduction refers to the production of progeny more or less similar to those of parents. Sexual and asexual reproductions are there. Examples for asexual reproduction are the reproduction of fungi by spores, Yeast and hydra by budding, Planaria by regeneration, fragmentation by filamentous algae etc. 3. Living organisms acquire and use energy for metabolism. Metabolism is the sum total of all the chemical reactions occurring in the body. In the body of all living organisms thousands of metabolic reactions are taking place. 4. Cellular organization of the body is the defining feature of life forms. 5. Living organisms respond to changes in the environment and adapt to environmental changes. 6. Conciousness is the defining features of life forms. Human being is the only one animal who is aware of himself. Biodiversity We can see a large number of plants and animals around us. The term biodiversity refers to the number and types of organisms present on earth. Nomenclature The plants and animals present in our own area are known by their local names. These names vary from place to place. Hence there is a need for standardization arises. Nomenclature is the standardization of naming of living things so that a particular organism is known by the same name all over the world. Following organizations give name for plants and animals. ICBN (International Code for Botanical Nomenclature) It is the organization for naming plants.

ICZN (International Code for Zoological Nomenclature) It is the organization for naming animals. Identification This implies assigning an organism to a particular taxonomic group.

Binomial Nomenclature 1

The scientific name of an organism consists of two parts . The first part is the name of the GENUS (Generic name) and name of the SPECIES (Specific name). This system of naming organisms with two components is the Binomial Nomenclature. This naming system was given by CAROLUS LINNAEUS. Biological names are generally written in Latin language and written in italics. The first word denoting the genus starts with a capital letter while species starts with small letter. Eg; Mangifera indica (Mango) Classification Classification is the process by which anything is grouped in to convenient categories based on some easily observable characters. Taxonomy Based on characteristics, all living organisms can be classified in to different categories known as taxa. This process of classification of organisms is called taxonomy. Systematics The branch of study about the different kinds of organisms, their diversities and relationship among them are called systematics. Taxonamic Categories The hierarchy of steps in the taxonomic arrangement is called taxonomic categories. All taxonomic categories together called taxonomic hierarchy Taxon It is the unit of classification which represents a rank in classification Hierarchy of Classification Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus Species. the second part is the

SPECIES It is a group of individuals with similar morphological characters, which are able to breed among themselves and produce their own kind. Eg ;Panthera leo (Lion) Panthera tigris (Tiger) Solanum tuberosum (Potato) Mangifera indica (mango) Homo sapience (man) Canis familiaris (dog) Hibiscus rosasinensis (shoe flower) Felis domestica (cat) (The under lined words indicate the species name.) GENUS It is a group of related species which has more characters in common in comparison to species of other genera. Eg;Panthera leo 2

Felis domestica ( The underlined words indicate genus name.) FAMILY Group of related genera with common characters compared to genus and species. Lion in the genus Panthera and cat in the genus Felis included in the same family Felidae. ORDER It is a group of related families sharing some common characters . Eg; The order CARNIVORA includes families like FELIDAE and CANIDAE CLASS It is a group of related orders Eg; Class mammalia includes order carnivora, order primata PHYLUM Conists of all organisms of different classes having a few common characters. Eg; Class fishes, amphibians; reptiles,birds and mammals included in the Phylum Chordata KINGDOM It includes all organisms belonging to various phyla.

Organisms with their taxonomic groups

TAXONOMICAL AIDS For the identification of a species, laboratory studies and field studies are very important. Taxonomical aids such as herbarium, museum, botanical Gardens, zoological parks, keys etc are used for taxonomical studies. 3

These aids help to identify the species, helps to place the organism in taxonomical hierarchy and also to store the specimen for future use. HERBARIUM Herbarium is a store house of collected plant specimens that are dried, pressed and preserved on sheets. Herbarium sheets are arranged according to universally accepted system of classification. These specimens become a store house for future use and serve as a quick referral system in taxonomy. The herbarium sheets carry a label providing information about date and place of collection, English, local and botanical names, collectors name etc. BOTANICAL GARDENS Botanical gardens are specialized gardens which have collections of living plants for reference. Plant species in these gardens are grown for identification purposes. Each plant is labeled indicating its botanical / scientific name and its family. The famous botanical gardens are at Kew (England), Indian Botanical GardenHowrah (India), and at National Botanical Research Institute (Lucknow). MUSEUMS Museums places where plant animal specimens are preserved for study and reference. Specimens are preserved in the containers or jars in the preservative solutions. Plant and animal specimens are also preserved as dry specimens. Insects are preserved in insect boxes after collecting, killing and pinning. Larger animals like birds and mammals are usually stuffed and preserved. Museums also have collections of animal skeletons. ZOOLOGICAL PARKS These are the places where wild animals are kept in protected environments under human care. This helps to learn about the behavior of animals and also their food habits. In zoological parks, we provide a natural habitat to the animals. These parks are commonly called zoos. KEY Key is a taxonomical aid used for identification of plants and animals based on their similarities and dissimilarities. The keys are based on the contrasting characters generally in pair called couplet. Each statement in a key is called a lead.

Notes Prepared by BIJU T L HSST Zoology GHSS Mylachal, Tvpm