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Activity 06: Taxonomy and identification of species

Taxonomy – The hierarchic organization of the animal kingdom

Objective: Getting to know taxonomic terms and organization criteria, hierarchic classification of animals into the taxonomic system
Learning outcomes: Leaners are able to understand and apply the taxonomic terms of class, order, family, genus and species. They are able to recognize and name morphological features of specific systematic groups.
Previous knowledge: none
Duration: 40 min
Materials / Conditions: Internet access
Methods / Techniques: Research, description, creative thinking, schematic representation, comparison
Learning subject: Biodiversity / Module 3: Collection, editing and analysis environmental data / Level: Advanced learning

More than a million animal species, which have originated from common archetypes through evolution over millions of years, have been described until today. They all show different degrees of kinship and similarity. What is the best way to depict those relations and similarities in a biological classification system?

1. Research the terms genus, order, class, species and family and put them in the right order. Try to find an everyday example to which you can compare this hierarchic classification.

2. Go to the webpage to find the classification for the animals listed below. Create a scheme that illustrates the species‘ affiliation to the different systematic entities.
Species: House mouse, African wild dog, cheetah, tiger, lion

3. Compare the different species from Task 2 and describe the similar features they share as mammals. Make assumptions according to which characteristics and criteria the two orders of mammals can be differentiated.


Possible results / Results:
1. Species (the classification’s primary unit), genus (species related more closely), family (similar genus), order, class
Compare with residence: house number, street, borough, city/town, region, country

3. Common mammal characteristics: fur, lactating pups, homoeothermic body temperature, dentition with different types of teeth (incisors, canine teeth, back teeth)
Rodentia: increased incisors, toothless gap, mostly plant-based nutrition
Carnivora: increased canine teeth (fangs), back teeth turned into carnassial teeth, predatory nutrition (carnivore)

This unit is based on an idea taken from:
Campbell, N. A. und J. B. Reece (2011): Biologie. 8. aktualisierte Auflage. München (Pearson Studium). 16f. 720-722. and Galland, B. (1982): Wir ordnen häufige Frühblüher. Unterricht Biologie 68: 25-27.

Related activities:

Author: Louisa Bergmann and Samira Marschall
Aus dem Deutschen übersetzt von Jana Prokaka

en/learning/courses/subjects/s01/m03/advanced-learning/a06.txt · Last modified: 2015/09/16 10:28 by sschoeffer