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Read About the Classification of Living Things

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Classification of Living Things | Reading Material | Grades 6-8
WHAT IS THE CLASSIFICATION OF LIVING THINGS?

Scientists classify living things based on their shared traits. In addition to identifying each different kind of organism, classification can help us understand how living things are related to each other.

To better understand the classification of living things…

WHAT IS THE CLASSIFICATION OF LIVING THINGS?. Scientists classify living things based on their shared traits. In addition to identifying each different kind of organism, classification can help us understand how living things are related to each other. To better understand the classification of living things…

LET’S BREAK IT DOWN!

Classification and Groups

Classification and Groups

When you see an organism that you have never seen before, you probably group it with other, similar organisms without even thinking about it. You use its obvious physical traits to decide what other group it is most like. Although a bat has wings, you wouldn’t classify it as a bird because, in addition to wings, birds have feathers, beaks, and lay eggs—traits that bats do not have. We use shared traits to classify living things into groups.

Classification and Groups When you see an organism that you have never seen before, you probably group it with other, similar organisms without even thinking about it. You use its obvious physical traits to decide what other group it is most like. Although a bat has wings, you wouldn’t classify it as a bird because, in addition to wings, birds have feathers, beaks, and lay eggs—traits that bats do not have. We use shared traits to classify living things into groups.

Dichotomous Key

Dichotomous Key

To help identify an unknown organism, you could use a tool called a dichotomous key. Dichotomous means divided into two parts, so the key gives a series of statements consisting of two choices that describe the characteristics of the unidentified organism. You have to choose which of the two statements best describes the unknown organism. Then based on that choice, you move to the next set of statements, ultimately ending in the identity of the unknown. Dichotomous keys are usually represented in one of two ways:

1. As a branching flow chart
2. As a series of parallel statements laid out in a numbered sequence

You may use a dichotomous key to classify an animal and determine that it is an amphibian and not a lizard. But trying to determine what kind of amphibian it is requires you to learn about taxonomy.

Dichotomous Key To help identify an unknown organism, you could use a tool called a dichotomous key. Dichotomous means divided into two parts, so the key gives a series of statements consisting of two choices that describe the characteristics of the unidentified organism. You have to choose which of the two statements best describes the unknown organism. Then based on that choice, you move to the next set of statements, ultimately ending in the identity of the unknown. Dichotomous keys are usually represented in one of two ways: 1. As a branching flow chart 2. As a series of parallel statements laid out in a numbered sequence You may use a dichotomous key to classify an animal and determine that it is an amphibian and not a lizard. But trying to determine what kind of amphibian it is requires you to learn about taxonomy.

Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Just like you, scientists group similar organisms together. The science of naming and classifying living things into groups is called taxonomy. Scientists classify living things to organize and make sense of the incredible diversity of life. Classification also helps us understand how living things are related to each other.

All life can be sorted into three large groups called domains. Kingdoms are the next level and are divided into phyla (phylum, singular). Each phylum is divided int