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Scientific Names and Linnaean Taxonomy

Think about your home. If you were talking to someone in another country, and explaining to them where your house was, you’d first start with the country, state, suburb, street and number. Each level becomes more specific until you eventually find your house. 

Classification works in the same way. We have millions of organisms on earth, and we need a way to systematically group them. Carol Linnaean created the classification system we use today. This is called the Linnaean taxonomy. 


  1. What are the groups in Linnaean Taxonomy’s System?
  2. What is the most general and most specific group? 
  3. How do we create scientific names for animals? 

Linnaean Taxonomy System

Linnaean dichotomous key starts with the largest group called kingdoms. From there, each group becomes more specific until you are left with the organism. To remember the different levels of classification you can use the acronym King Philip Came Over For Good Spaghetti. 

The slides below show the classification of a Tiger.  

Double Name System

When it comes to naming organisms, you might have noticed we have a common name and a scientific name. Have you eaten a Malus domestica or a Musa sapientum lately? Chances are you probably have. These are the scientific names for an apple and a banana (respectively). 

Like finding a house using a street name and a suburb, organisms can be named based on their genus and species. This double naming (binomial) system, starts with the genus and then the species. 

The first letter of the genus is capitalised, while the species is kept lower case. You also write it italicised.


  • Linnaean Taxonomy’s system is Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus and Species. 

  • Kingdom is the most general, while Species is the most specific. 
  • The scientific name of an organism is a combination of the genus and species of the organisms. 
  • The Genus is the capitalised first word and the species is the lower case second word. The whole name is italicised. 

Test your knowledge

Click the ‘question mark’ to test your knowledge with some questions and activities.


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