Talk:Taxonomy (biology)

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Difference between the use of classes or categories[edit]

Is a taxonomy used for classification or categorization or both? I dont seem to find an explicit difference between these two similar but different concepts. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:50, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

K students[edit]

PLz help me ! er ..fdfdfdfdf... i'm doing a project my eacher let me make a book by hand witch it's about biologcal taxonomy i have two question here what is the relationship between each level and can anybody give my examples of each five major kingdom!

Thanks !!!!! verymuch fo tha help —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:26, 17 September 2008 (UTC) -/////-


♥ How do i make a taxonomic scheme using only kingdom and phylum? Its a report i have to do and i designed imaginary creatures and im supposed to make a taxonomic scheme using those two kingdoms.

I'm looking for a taxonomy to use for the basis of categorizing/sorting my on-line photo album. Does such a thing exist? Prefer a freely available or OSS source. -Speedeep 20:45, Jan 3, 2005 (UTC)

Web taxonomies[edit]

The Wikipedia does not mention the use of the word taxonomies to describe the hierarchically arranged information on Web pages. Vendors of content management systems offer the capability of producing a taxonomy for Web pages when designing a site. :3 lenguas 1/27/05

D :0 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:23, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

Taxonomy = naming?[edit]

In grad school I remember reading--I don't know where--that taxonomy was essentially involved with naming, and I assumed that the "nom" part of the word was from the latin for "name", literally "taxon naming" (and the root of "nomenclature", "nominal" etc). The argument was that phylogeny (and phenetic classification also I guess) was the subject that dealt with relationships between groups (in the biological world), and taxonomy was principally involved with the rules and regs involved in naming the resultant taxa. Thus, I'm unsure whether taxonomy is more related to the process of classification vs the process of naming the resulting taxa. Or does it, in common usage, generally imply both? Can we check on this.....Jeeb 1 July 2005 03:42 (UTC)

The "nom" is from νόμος (nomos, law, custom) and is thus related to words like economy. The greek root for name is ōnom- or ōnym- (usually with the y in English borrowings, unless initial, like onomastics). If 'name' was intended it probably would be taxonymy, like toponymy.
However it might help explain why we, or rather the French whose word taxonomie we borrowed, have it spelled with -onom- rather than -inom- as the etymology from 'taxis' requires. ('Taxon' though is a later back-formation from 'taxonomy'.) —Muke Tever talk (la.wiktionary) 01:04, 26 August 2005 (UTC)
I agree, Muke, but only from The greek root for name is etc. on (though a mal-formation might also be possible). Yet
  Taxonomy (from Ancient Greek: τάξις taxis "arrangement" and Ancient Greek: νομία nomia "method"[1])  is the practice and science of classification.
copied some minutes ago from the article itself
is not true in its underlined part: Liddell-Scott (νομία): [1]. as compounds like σιτονόμος derive from νέμω = "deal out/distribute", a ταξινόμος1) would simply be "one who deals out arrangement/order" - a perfect match to a taxonomist's doings. Thence, ταξινομία is nothing but the corresponding abstract noun, meaning "the dealing out of arrangement/order" - on the contrary, νόμος = "law etc." is a secondarily developed word - maybe from the fact that "dealing out something(food, and or whatever)" requires a "rule" or even a "law".
1) btw.: a ταξονόμος would be "one who deals out yews": [2] ;-))
be fine (talk) 10:07, 19 June 2011 (UTC)ŪĒLN
slight improvements in language and links217.252.101.217 (talk) 12:06, 19 June 2011 (UTC)ŪĒLN
  1. ^ Harper, Douglas. "Taxonomy". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved April 18, 2011. 

Scientific Taxonomies vs. Folk Taxonomies[edit]

While both definitions are clear and accurate; is there a middle ground? In a corporate environment, particularly for a corporate communications department, the taxonomy could be considered to semi-scientific. While there exists a scientific basis for elements of the taxonomy, hierarchical branches and specific terms, they are intermixed with 'how we think about information' perspective, incorporating the vocabulary of the organisation.

how many kingdoms?[edit]

I am doing a project for biology and am trying to figure out if there is really just five kingdoms and why scientist think this -(unsigned 16:13, 25 September 2006 by

Beware clarification[edit]

30-October-2006: In recent years, revisions to the 5-year-old "taxonomy" article, for the reason of "clarification" (quote), have actually blanked or eliminated significant sections. Last year, on November 10 (2005), the link to "cladistics" was removed after years of use; I have added a small paragraph about "cladistic taxonomy" under the new header "Various taxonomies" to keep linking cladistics, since it is quite important IMHO to the original meaning of taxonomy in biological naming.

Beware any future "clarification" to the taxonomy article that seems to simplify the article to be little more than a dictionary definition of "taxonomy" as a synonym for "classification" which omits the importance to biology and other fields that treat "taxonomy" as a key issue. Per WP:NOT, Wikipedia is not [just] a dictionary, so definitely add brief historical and related information to be more than just a "definition" about taxonomy. -Wikid77 12:46, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Various taxonomies[edit]

NOTE: I don't know enough about how Wikipedia works to tell if the following is appropriate and *working* or not... :

TEXT FROM PAGE (look at "edit" if you can't see the hidden ref bit!)...

In alpha taxonomy, as the scientific classification of organisms, the system includes the root called "Organism" (as this applies to all living things, it is implied rather than stated explicitly), followed by the ranks: Kingdom, Phylum (plural, phyla), Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species, with over 40 various other ranks sometimes inserted, [1] such as subphylum, superorder, subfamily, subtribe, or subspecies to handle complex groups such as insects (more at: scientific classification or Linnaean taxonomy).

MY COMMENTS: Sorry, I don't know how to 'reveal' the code, as pasting it here has just reproduced the (for me) non-functional reference... In any case, it shows up with a [1] footnote, but clicking on it does nothing on my browsers (Safari, Firefox). In any case, it looks like a sneaky person slipped some obscenity in there... I "undid" the specific edit that changed "King Phillip Came Over For Good Sex" to "King Phillip Came Over For Good Penis", but frankly does this "ref" work for others?

Edit that inserted the obscenity (which I undid):

WhyAskWhyNot 04:39, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

  1. ^ Common mnemonic devices used for Kingdom-Phylum-Class, etc. include: "King Phillip Came Over From Greece Singing," "King Phillip Came Over From Germany Saturday," "King Phillip Came Over For Good Soup," and "Keep Ponds Clean Or Frogs Grow Scarce," "King Phillip Came Over For Great Spagettii," and "King Phillip Came Over For Good Penis" or in America, "Kenneth Plays Chess On Friday" (+genus species).

Irrelevant part[edit]

The phrase "and commonly display parent-child relationships" seems to be irrelevant to the text and, therefore, I suggest that it be deleted. 09:43, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure it means what you think it means. I'm no taxonomy expert, but it might simply be expressing the relationship between parent (higher) taxonomic groupings and child (lower) groupings. Admittedly, it does sound like someone's cut-and-pasted from an article on the art of parenting, but I suspect that's not the case. If I'm correct, it would still be very useful to reword so that this (mis-?) interpretation of the statement isn't made again. Cheers, --Plumbago 09:52, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Indeed, "parent-child relationship" is a fairly generic way of referring to the relationship between hierarchichal entities, and is used in taxonomy in exactly this way by many. I'm not sure what wording would be appropriate, but it should not be excised.WhyAskWhyNot 02:11, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Unreferenced template[edit]

I never read the original article here and the first sentence of the article appears to be quite good, bringing in the Greek etymology. Then it starts to get highly abstract and very speculative, especially when it begins to speak of the classification of all things. Yet no theorists or philosophers are cited beyond the passing reference to a name or two. It often seems to me that the article is relying on the philosophic conjectures of modernist Wikipedia editors. That isn't right and the meaning of much of the article is lost in semantically overloaded words. The rest of us are not familiar with the overload. We need some theorists to be cited here.

FYI the Greek terms of the biological classification much precede the 14th century. That was an interesting guess, but don't guess. Your response should be "I'll find out (sir)." In fact they originate with the philosopher Aristotle. You need to read some Aristotle, whose works I am sure can be found on line. Now, he had his own biological classification, based on reproduction, with which Linnaeus, a classical scholar, was no doubt quite familiar. But, the classification that counts, the one that got passed on to taxonomy, is the metaphysical one. It divides everything (not just plants and animals) into categories, genera and species. Linnaeus got the whole thing from him. When you get into the top brackets certain problems with the category of everything start to happen and so ontology was born.

So you can see there is nothing de novo in this line of thinking. If you are going to become philosophers read some history of philosophy. Now, if you are introducing such terms as alpha taxonomy and the use of taxonomy outside biology and making all kinds of speculations then you need to state whose concepts and terms these are. We are all philosophers no doubt and we all slip into it unconsciously. However this is an encyclopedia covering basically the history of previous serious thought so you have to catch yourself up and get back to the published framework. I don't see any bibliography or any notes refering to any items in it. All I see are many links without specification beyond the name of what is to be found in what link. Go to work now.Dave 10:03, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

Taxonomy has errors[edit]

I strongly believe that scientific taxonomy has many obvious errors and unnecessary groups. I think it would be much easier to classify organisms if the taxonomy system were simplified (but not over-simplified, as that would create more errors) into a system in which you can only go in one of two directions in a given group of organisms. This supports my hypothesis that a power of 2, organisms, have lived or existed ever since the beginning of living things.--Mathexpressions 05:31, 8 August 2007 (UTC)

Fine, but this has nothing to do with Wikipedia. We're only interested in describing the subjects of our articles, not trying to embellish or improve them. --Plumbago (talk) 19:49, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

classification link[edit]

Why is the first link on classification redirect to biological classification if this is a general article? --Kupirijo (talk) 20:57, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

t34qt[q34t34[[y43qy5ytjstkjyssktdekuyedy]]] —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:32, 18 September 2008 (UTC)


I can believe this is Wikipedia's entire article on this GIGANTIC subject. What a joke. -TILDETILDETILDETILDE —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:19, 1 September 2009 (UTC)


I saw the see also section that there is (somehow) Paint under it. How is it related to taxonomy? (please see previous edit) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:37, 7 September 2010 (UTC)


How about we discuss the history and development of modern taxonomy? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:51, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

Growing disaster[edit]

Folks, taxonomy is one of the most fundamental disciplines in either formal or informal human intellectual or material activity. It is too important to neglect, but we cannot compass it in a single article. What we have so far is inadequate, patchy, and becoming more of a disaster as it grows. Hardly anyone who has contributed so far (and all credit to everyone for the effort) seems to have a general view of the subject; practically everything is in the form of a few paragraphs on hierarchical classification in some field or other. There is no structure to speak of. little sign of structure, and little obvious appreciation of the fact that hierarchical classification is just one field of taxonomy, and by no means in every way the most important field of taxonomy; it certainly is nothing like the most universal. The nearest anyone comes to dealing with that problem is a mention of networks in taxonomy.

Now, I am not throwing stones, and I also am not saying I could do better, but this should not be an article, but rather a Wikiproject, or at the very least a cooperative collaboration. And I am not the one to run a project; that is a special skill. I do volunteer to assist as well as I can if a team gets together.

Should we have a go at discussing such a project, if only at first discussing a structure? JonRichfield (talk) 13:11, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

Remove biological taxonomy to own article[edit]

I agree entirely that at present the article is a mess. Personally, I don't think it does need a project, but rather splitting up. "Scientific taxonomy" redirects to this article, but it's no longer about this subject (which it largely used to be) because of the random additions of other material. I strongly favour a separate article called "Biological taxonomy" or "Taxonomy (biology)", plus a more general article covering the use of the term in a wide range of disciplines. There are already projects (e.g. WP:TOL and subprojects like WP:PLANTS) which can handle biological taxonomy. Peter coxhead (talk) 11:30, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
Sounds like we better make this a summary article with specific articles for each of the taxonomy fields. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 13:06, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
I agree with something along the lines suggested by Peter Coxhead and Kim van der Linde. As a non-native English speaker, my usefulness to the project may be limited, but I'll help out in any way I can. Petter Bøckman (talk) 15:08, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
I would favor this approach. Other uses of the term "taxonomy" are (1) as important to the people who use them as biological taxonomy is to those of us who are professional biological taxonomists, and (2) not really neologisms, since "taxonomy" has classically had a broad definition (to the extent that one could make a taxonomy of taxonomies). I, too, know little of these other fields, and am not comfortable taking on the larger topic, but if we were instead to shoo away the other uses of the term, they'd be back in a few years and we'd have to do it all over again. We'd have a lot less of that with an article about biological taxonomy.--Curtis Clark (talk) 22:30, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
The question here is how widely the terms are applied though. I'd really rather not have to dab links to taxonomy with [[Taxonomy (biology)|Taxonomy]] each and every time. The usage in other fields are just as significant of course, but rarely encountered by a rather large margin.-- Obsidin Soul 20:08, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
Admittedly, a "super-disambiguation page" might work, it's basically what this page already tries to be. Only thing I object to is rendering biological taxonomy to a mere hatnote at the top of the page.-- Obsidin Soul 20:14, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

Retain biological taxonomy and remove rest[edit]

Given the overwhelming application of the term to biology, I would propose retaining only biological taxonomy here, and split off all the others to their own articles.-- Obsidin Soul 12:03, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
I would 2nd the proposal that biological taxonomy be retained here, and split off the rest. I don't see a need for a specific project for this article. I will also reiterate how important taxonomy is to biology. It forms a basal science to any aspect of biology, no matter how remote it may be. Visit any zoo or botanic garden, the way animals and plants are presented to the public is by their taxonomy. At WP we need to do no less. Hence this page must be well written and well presented. I am a professional taxonomist and would be happy to assist in reviewing or writing this page. Maybe some sort of lock on the page would help with any irrelevant additions. Cheers, Faendalimas talk 14:36, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
I've more or less done this (removing all non-biological taxonomy, except for small section). The page still needs work, but I think is in much better shape now. Feel free to add/edit anything I've missed, I only had a couple of hours free. I'm not sure how to set-up an "ambiguity page", so perhaps someone could help with that if they think it is necessary now. BC Myles (talk) 06:22, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
A good start thanks. Cheers, Faendalimas talk 14:23, 28 November 2011 (UTC)


Just some comments for consideration. I honestly do not think it matters wether this is split one way or the other. My comment above was made before this got categorised. The usage of the term taxonomy since around 1750 has been restricted largely to the biological sciences. In recent years people have used it for other fields. However the concept of taxonomy goes back to c.350 BC with Aristotle. It is basically the naming of the units of groups of objects classified by what is referred to as Aristotelian Logic or hierarchical sets. First used for biology by Aristotle in 350 bc. He developed a nomenclature system for animals that would be very recognisable today, in fact Linnaeus himself used Aritotle's names where he could, eg Chelonia mydas and Testudo graeca though credited to Linnaeus are in fact Aritotle's names for these species. I think there is a valid case that the biological useage was the first practical application of Aristotelian Logic, however, modern expanded usage and avoidance of confusion may make for good arguments for splitting the biological section into another subject. I will go with either. However, the biological useage of taxonomy (named sets) goes back 2500 years and has been the primary use of the term. Cheers, Faendalimas talk 23:24, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

This is (or should be) a summary style article, which is suitable for such a high-level topic. That is, it is already "split up". The article should only give an overview of the topic of taxonomy—biological and otherwise—and leave details to more specific articles (such as "Biological classification"). I'm not saying the article is perfect, but I don't see splitting it up as helping anything if it's the content that needs to be improved. —Pengo 14:48, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

OK things are good, but the very first sentence describing taxonomy as : "... academic discipline of defining groups of organisms... " possibly implies the biological meaning and use of the term. But it's not made clear there (as someone who doesn't know the meaning of taxonomy will possibly not know the domain that it belongs to either ;)) , so may be redefining it as " biological organisms " would be better (acc to me) and at the same time, right from there declaring the existance of other usage and meanings of the term taxonomy would releive the possibility of more confusion. Thanks anyways. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:26, 16 June 2012 (UTC)

A few pointers[edit]

Further to the above conversation I would like to add some points.

  • Alpha Taxonomy. This is the study of biological significant units generally referred to as species (though this is a generalisation). The term taxonomy refers to all levels of a species full identification.
  • The seems to be confusion in this article between the terms taxonomy, nomenclature and systematics. Literally taxonomy is the study of taxa, ie the study of the ranks in which a species fits. It is primarily concerned with the identification of species. Nomenclature refers to the names of these ranks and is concerned with the study of names with respect to the ICZN code. Systematics is concerned with the relationships of taxa, ie the development of trees. It is important to keep these distinct as they are 3 separate studies.
  • I will leave wether and how the article is split to the above discussion.
  • Terms such as Biological Taxonomy and Linnaean Taxonomy are really bastardizations of other terms, both are actually called biological classification and linnaean classification. They refer to methods of classification used by taxonomy they are not taxonomy in themselves. The way these have been written and discussed are not accurate, there is also of course numerical classification. Biological Classification refers to the use of Mayrian species boundaries, ie the use of the Biological Species Concept of reproductive isolation, Linnaean classification means the usage of the binomial naming of species, numerical taxonomy follows the principals proposed by Willis of identifying relationships by statistical means.

Basically the section on taxonomy of the biological sphere, needs clarification and definition of terms and a rewrite. Cheers, Faendalimas talk 22:19, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

Well, there's already an article on Alpha Taxonomy covering just that aspect. Petter Bøckman (talk) 09:07, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
As I'm not very happy with the way the Systematics article is written – it relies very heavily on a 1970 definition which isn't consistent with modern practice – I have been trying to source recent definitions and explanations of the terms "systematics", "nomenclature", "classification" and "taxonomy" (broadly, not just alpha taxonomy). Faendalimas: can you provide such source(s) for your definitions above? Peter coxhead (talk) 14:34, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
I should be able to get the necessary references together. A number of text books cover this but I guess the journal literature would be better. These of course are methodology papers making them less main stream. But should be findable. Cheers, Faendalimas talk 21:14, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
Textbook references are preferable over articles per WP policy. Besides being secondary, they are usually also a bit more pedagogically worded. The trick is finding one that's up to date. Petter Bøckman (talk) 18:12, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Root route[edit]

UNK!!! I pulled out the bottom apple, and the whole pile came down! Maybe that is just as well. I feel a bit overwhelmed by the standard of some of the responses, so I'll mainly reiterate that I'll help where it seems likely to be useful. My only approach to participation in the discussion at this stage is to remark that though I am first and foremost a biologist, I do not regard what we biologists call taxonomy (plus systematics, plus classification etc) as fundamental to the concept of taxonomic concepts. I grant that it is the largest scale of effort based on the discipline, but that is no more relevant to permitting biological aspects of taxonomy to effectively displace the rest, than permitting accountancy to evict the rest of mathematics because people do more of that than any other maths.

Therefore, I support the idea of retaining the current Taxonomy article, but as a sort of super-disambiguation page. I recently had my nose rubbed in the fact that the formal WP disambiguation page format and discipline are extremely limiting; I understand the reason, but IMO there is a most important function for what one might call an annotated signpost or root article dealing with the comprehensive field, topic by topic in separate sections at no more than a lede level (say 50 — 250 words), but each topic linking to a dedicated article (or a root article at another level). In some ways writing such a root article is extremely challenging, because though it might not require the depth of knowledge of the component disciplines, it does require a knowledge of the structure, the way the various fields are interrelated. Lack of such a structure is to my mind the main shortcoming of the current article; the other shortcomings are comparatively superficial and trivial. We cannot simply build up a root article by starting with one sub-discipline (such as biological taxonomy at some level) and having practitioners in other fields chime in in their separate keys as the mood takes some amateur when he gets the "me-too" feeling. Taxonomy has very little to do with taxonomies; it is larger than any. JonRichfield (talk) 19:58, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

It seems the majority here like the idea of making a "super disambiguation" page or "summary article". I suppose the two have some sort of common meeting ground. Petter Bøckman (talk) 21:17, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

Taxonomy in Library and Information Science[edit]

Surprisingly, there has not been much discussion about taxonomy from the point of view of librarians or information professionals. Classification, I have to note is not synonymous with taxonomy, as some people have argued here, nor is it strictly related to biology. Taxonomy is a type of hierarchical classification scheme that one can use to structure information. Other classification tools include trees, facets, and controlled vocabularies. Taxonomies are perhaps particularly well known in biology because new species are constantly found, and debate rages about which part of the taxonomy should contain a particular organism.

A feature of taxonomies is discrete containers for each term (item, concept, organism etc) so that a term cannot appear simultaneously in more than one part of the taxonomy. For example, a platypus is filed as a mammal, but cannot be filed as a reptile or avian too. Another feature is the hierarchical relationships between terms. In the biology example, an organisms of the same phylum also share properties with the broader kingdom level of the classification.

A special feature of the taxonomy for living things is that every organism has a term for each level of the taxonomy. That is, a genus for a plant is at the equivalent level of the genus for an animal in the KPCOFGS scheme. However, a taxonomy does not need to be quite so strict. In other taxonomies, there is the potential that the type of terms lower down in the hierarchy will be dependent on the classification at a higher level.

Some useful references for taxonomy include Heather Hedden's book The Accidental Taxonomist and the NISO standard Z39.19. I would suggest that people should start with these documents for a working definition of taxonomy for this article.

The importance of changing the article is the fact that when I type in taxonomy in Wikipedia's search function, I may not be looking for the specific biology taxonomy. Following the NISO standard above, and following the logic of other classification schemes, this particular article appears to be misplaced, or named improperly. It is not about the science or study of taxonomy as a subject, but about the placement of organisms within a set taxonomy. There is a semantic difference between the two concepts. (talk) 04:42, 15 June 2012 (UTC)

I think there are two issues here.
  1. Should there be much better coverage of taxonomy generally, as well as of taxonomy in biology? I'm sure there would be a consensus that the answer to this question is "yes".
  2. How should the coverage of biological taxonomy and "general taxonomy" be organized? I would prefer two articles (or more if there are other specialized areas) rather than confusing the biological taxonomy article.
Peter coxhead (talk) 09:07, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
I stumbled on this exchange, and I agree with both of you in proper context; but it led me to look around at various articles dealing with taxonomy (not to mention related concepts such as systematics). I knew there was a big mess, but I was quite shaken to see just how big. Lots of people have created overlapping articles in apparently blithe oblivion of each other's efforts. I wouldn't touch such a big project myself, though I wouldn't mind assisting with the bits and pieces, but we really need a project to structure the whole field. (Just my ha'porth!) JonRichfield (talk) 10:16, 15 June 2012 (UTC)

A recent set of changes further entrenched the biological hegemony, and I haven't had time to properly consider them all. Inter alia, they deleted the link to the disambiguation page. If someone has the time, it might be worth checking whether some very old version of this page is a better foundation. (Out of time, off to work in the real world.) P.S.: Thoeretical linguistics also uses taxonomies a lot. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 12:00, 15 June 2012 (UTC)

I agree we have portions of two articles here. Much of the current article is assuming that all taxonomy is biological, but then other portions have a more general/neutral tone like the "Non-biological taxonomies" section. Should the bulk of this article be split off to Biological taxonomy and this article be an expansion of the "Non-biological taxonomies" section, with only a brief overview of biological taxonomy? I don't think a separate article for Biological taxonomy and Biological classification is really warranted, so perhaps most of this article could be merged with Biological classification at either that name or at Biological taxonomy. --Tom Hulse (talk) 18:19, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
Tom, I think you're absolutely right about this pair of articles. But I also think that JonRichfield is right that there is a much bigger mess: the fields of biological systematics, taxonomy, classification, nomenclature, etc. have overlapping and sometimes inconsistent articles. Whether anyone has time to work on sorting this out is another matter.
However, we should not let this ideal (sorting out all the articles) stop incremental improvements. I would proceed slowly, because there have been sharp disputes in the past when attempts were made to change some of the content of this set of articles. So I suggest first creating two taxonomy articles and then seeking wider input at various WikiProjects on merging "Taxonomy (biology)" with Biological classification. From past exchanges, I know that there are strong views that taxonomy and classification are not the same and should be kept separate.
Choice of titles is a problem. There are a very large number of wikilinks to "Taxonomy", almost all of which are to the biological sense. So "Taxonomy" needs to remain as the title of "Taxonomy (biology)" or be a redirect to it, unless you want to spend a lot of time changing wikilinks in articles. So a new title is needed for "Non-biological taxonomies", e.g. "Taxonomy (general)". Peter coxhead (talk) 08:41, 16 June 2012 (UTC)
+1 for the "Taxonomy (general)" idea. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 13:20, 16 June 2012 (UTC)
No complaints from this quarter, but I'm keeping my head down till I either find some necessary minor edits, or someone says: "Hey you! Lend a hand!" JonRichfield (talk) 18:14, 16 June 2012 (UTC)
Okay, lent hands would be welcome. I've made a draft of Taxonomy (general) based on an old version of this page. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 17:38, 9 August 2012 (UTC)
Does anyone know which user is behind ? I'd like to contact him about this topic. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Janbt (talkcontribs) 18:26, 6 October 2012 (UTC)

Common Descent[edit]

I changed the first sentence to include common descent as a basis for classification in order to make sure cladistics is considered, which is not based on shared traits. --Ianua45 (talk) 14:04, 9 August 2012 (UTC)

I don't see a problem with your edit, but common descent is ordinarily hypothesized through shared traits.--Curtis Clark (talk) 14:33, 9 August 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Curtis. Cladistics is based on shared traits and presents a hypothesis of common descent. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 16:55, 9 August 2012 (UTC)

Biological classification[edit]

Why is there a separate Article for Biological classification? Wouldn't it make sense to merge the two into one? --Ianua45 (talk) 14:04, 9 August 2012 (UTC)

We biologists often forget that there is much more to taxonomy than biological classification. Check out some of the other discussion on this page, and the variety of stuff in the article. For my part, I'd rather see this article just give the basics of biological classification, and push people to that article, which the biologists can shape as they please.--Curtis Clark (talk) 14:33, 9 August 2012 (UTC)
Sounds right to me! JonRichfield (talk) 18:48, 6 October 2012 (UTC)
Agreed. Petter Bøckman (talk) 06:49, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

Taxonomy (biology)[edit]

Folks, there has again been speculation about whether the non-biological part of taxonomy belongs in this article or not (see recent edit history by U3964057). On that topic there has been a good deal of cooperative and reasoned discussion in this page, and I don't intend going into it again just now. Furthermore, I really DO understand that trying to mop up the mess if we change the article name will be bad news, but we can't have it both ways. If, as U3964057 suggests, the non-biological portion of the topic does not belong in this article, then so be it, but then the name should change to Taxonomy (biology). In fact, given the current hatnote, I think it should be changed anyway. And if we do that then we need at least a disambiguation page called Taxonomy, if not one discussing the various usages of the word as previously discussed. I have never been involved in such a name change, but isn't there some sort of automated procedure for mending the links? JonRichfield (talk) 18:50, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

Agree, Taxonomy (biology) would be a much better title. Cleaning up incoming links without checking each one individually is, as far as I know, the province of bots, which are something that I don't want to mess with. In this case I'd imagine that checking each link by humans could be very beneficial (though headache-inducing). Sminthopsis84 (talk) 21:35, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
I haven't familiarised myself with all the details of previous discussions on this matter, though my view is that it makes most sense to have more than one article for biological and non-biological taxonomies (sounding like washing powders here....). To attempt to cover all the different fields within one article is more the scope of a dictionary definition, rather than an encyclopedia that covers specific topics/subjects, and I think that biological taxonomy is sufficiently established as a subject of its own for splitting not to be regarded as content forking. Concomitant with having more than one article is of course the necessity of renaming. Incidentally from the point of view of disambiguation, my dictionary places the biological definition of taxonomy first, followed by the definition as any classification system. PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 22:44, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
I agree that forking, with a dab page, or perhaps better a setindex page, is the best approach for the readers. Users of the other types of taxonomy can flesh out their articles.--Curtis Clark (talk) 23:15, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

Per this discussion, as well as reviewing the ones above, I've gone ahead and made the page move. aprock (talk) 16:12, 18 February 2013 (UTC)


Hello, I need a help from people with knowledge in systematics and taxonomy to discuss the Template:SysTax. This template was removed from the pages where it appears for discussion and improvment. Thanks Zorahia (talk) 15:22, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

Lengthy discussion
The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: no consensus for move. Miniapolis 15:23, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

Taxonomy (biology)Taxonomy – It already redirects here. It is primary usage. This page also overlaps with biological classification, which I have tagged for a merge, and taxonomy (general), which I have proposed for deletion. Srnec (talk) 23:09, 15 April 2013 (UTC)

Comment This proposed move is a reversal of the move made a couple of months ago, which followed a certain amount of discussion. Is the proposer aware of this? PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 23:20, 15 April 2013 (UTC)
Oppose - yes, there has been discussion in more than one section above on this page. I support the previous decision to fork the content, and oppose this suggestion to undo that. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 00:46, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
Oppose - I too feel this has been discussed in the past and a compromise acceptable by most was developed. I cannot see that anything has changed so would rather we stick with the previous discussions unless something new can be added to the argument. Faendalimas talk 01:11, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
If the consensus was that "taxonomy" should redirect here, then the consensus was that biological taxonomy is the primary meaning of "taxonomy" and therefore there is no need to disambiguate at all. The deletion and merge discussions are entirely separate from this one. Srnec (talk) 02:20, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
Comment. WP:TITLE would seem to support such a move, as it is the primary use of the term. I suppose this is more complicated than other cases, however, since the various uses of the term are not completely distinct. Kaldari (talk) 03:01, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
Oppose, it probably makes more sense to move taxonomy (general) to taxonomy. aprock (talk) 05:09, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
Oppose The current situation is probably the best compromise between differing views. Peter coxhead (talk) 07:40, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
Oppose emphatically Apart from what Peter says, the articles do not form a coherent topic in practice. They certainly require cross-linking, but if the were a criterion, WP would be a single article. Ask yourself: who, on reading about taxonomy in the formal set-theoretic or abstract sense would want to wade through the biological sense? And although some readers interested in the biological sense might find philosophical grounds for consulting the abstract sense, they would be in the small minority. I bet that the majority of biologists that use the word "taxonomy" do not even realise (or care) that it has any substantial use outside biology, and unless they are interested, why should they. For those that do, and wish to refer to it, a link is convenient and sufficient, whereas bundling the lot into one article would be an imposition on the large majority. JonRichfield (talk) 17:41, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
  • If Taxonomy redirects here, then there is no need for the disambiguator. Period. The "oppose" !votes should explain how this can simultaneously be both the primary topic (indicated by the redirect) and not the primary topic (indicated by the parenthetical disambiguator)... or else propose an alternative page to reside at the Taxonomy title, such as Taxonomy (disambiguation). Anything else blatantly contradicts our WP:TITLE policy, and the expectations of our readers. Powers T 13:44, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
Arguments based on the existence of redirects are going to be non-starters. Wikipedia is not a reliable source. aprock (talk) 13:56, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
Not a reliable... ?? What the hell does WP:RS have to do with WP:NC? Wikipedia is a perfectly reliable source for information about its own internal conventions, which clearly state that we only add a parenthetical disambiguator when such is needed for disambiguation. This is longstanding precedent, and no one has even so much as attempted to make an argument against it, so far as I can see. Powers T 14:41, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
Yes. You said that this page is the primary topic. Your argument bases that conclusion on the existence wikipdia redirects. aprock (talk) 16:35, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
I said nothing of the sort. I said that the current page title and redirect situation indicates self-contradictory information: that this topic is both the primary topic for "Taxonomy" and not the primary topic, at the same time. Obviously both cannot be true; I am not taking a position on which one is. But we cannot pretend that both are true. If the consensus is that this is the primary topic, then policy indicates that the page should be moved to the base title; otherwise, some other page should be moved to the base name. Powers T 19:08, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
The fact that the "Taxonomy" redirect goes to "Taxonomy (biology)" might, I agree, suggest that there is a consensus that "Taxonomy (biology)" is the primary topic. However this is not the case: previous attempts to reach a consensus as to which is the primary topic failed. So we have a classic Wikipedia stalemate: even if we all agree that one of the pages should be moved to "Taxonomy" there is no consensus as to which one. So nothing can be done. Peter coxhead (talk) 19:45, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
It seems to me that in the absence of consensus otherwise, the default option should be the disambiguation page. Powers T 22:34, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
Powers is right. Yet, it would seem to call into question the claim that a previous discussion settled the issue, would it not? Srnec (talk) 23:07, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
I actually don't have an issue with making the biological usage be the base page, however there was opposition to this in the past. It was as Peter coxhead pointed out, a true concensus was not achievable. It was undesirable by many to include some of the alternative usages of the word, many of which are recent inventions, being included in the Taxonomy page (Biological). In the end it went this current way to settle it. I have no objection to the Biological term being the Taxonomy page and other uses being in a disambiguation. But inclusion of a number of the alternative uses was confusing when it was included within the Taxonomy page. Faendalimas talk 23:24, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
Comment Hi all. It might be worth highlighting Srnec's view that the proposed merge and the the proposed deletion are quite independent issues. At least more independent that I would have thought. I am happy to be corrected, but I am under the impression that regardless of the outcome of this discussion, Srnec is advocating for the deletion of the taxonomy (general) article. Others may therefore want to cast their eye over the deletion discussion as well. Cheers Andrew (talk) 14:04, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
Comment - In reply to a comment above. My personal view is that the word taxonomy has been primarily used as a Biological term over a number of centuries, as I pointed out above in a previous discussion. However there were those who felt that the non-biological use of the term should be given some space on WP. As consensus is an aim here, I could not argue with that and accepted the proposals that the pages be separated. Deleting the (general) version and renaming the (Biological) page would return us to the state of the pages before the last time this was discussed. I don't have a huge issue with that as I consider it a biological term, however, that would not necessarily be the consensus. So in the name of satisfying a consensus, I opposed the move. Faendalimas talk 14:31, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
Comment In reply to both foregoing comments. I am a biologist myself and use the term taxonomy most often in biological connections. However, this does not suggest to me, and should not suggest to anyone else, that it is exclusively a biological term, nor even fundamentally a biological one. You might as well argue that multiplication, tree, and division are biological terms. The other sense(s) are fundamental and predated the use of the term in biology. The term was coined in the mid-19th century and I never realised that it should have been "taxinomy", but for a slip on the part of some Frenchman. No doubt he had finger trouble with his keyboard and his spell-checker failed to pick it up.[1] JonRichfield (talk) 17:41, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
Please look up multiplication, tree and division. Note that it is not multiplication (mathematics) or tree (biology). Note also that the term did originate in biology (Linnaeus, I believe). This move request has nothing to do with non-biological uses of the term, of which there are many. It's about primary usage. Srnec (talk) 23:07, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
Is the biological usage primary? aprock (talk) 23:24, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
I believe the term was coined in around 1815 (I have also seen 1828) by the French in relation to biological classification methods. I may stand corrected on this. Most other uses are more modern and are adaptations of the basic meaning of the original greek words, ie Taxis = naming + nomia = method. So yes I would conclude that the biological usuage is the primary usage of the word. Faendalimas talk 00:13, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
I suspect you'll need a source for establishing the biological usage as primary. Wikipedia editors doing etymology isn't a reliable source. Referring to, the biological usage is listed as secondary. At, the biological sense is tertiary. At, the biological sense is listed first. aprock (talk) 00:25, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
As an academic I would not consider any of those as primary sources, unfortunately I do not know the original citation for the term. This would need to be looked into. For all we know the various encyclopedia's and dictionaries could have their own reasons for the ordering. Faendalimas talk 00:35, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
Quite, but without sourcing, you can't say that it's the primary usage. Generally speaking, primary sources are trumped by secondary sources. aprock (talk) 01:09, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
That is very true, I can point it out here on a talk page but I would not put it on the main page yet without someone doing the sourcing. Cheers. Faendalimas talk 02:54, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
The modern meaning of the word "taxonomy" can be checked at [3] (free access), which states: "noun chiefly Biology".
For a more complete and academic etymological history of the usage of the word "taxonomy" in English, you should check the Oxford English Dictionary at [4] (subscription required?). This secondary source informs us that the word is first used in English in botany in 1819 and is derived from French taxonomie (1813); furthermore, the primary and secondary usages of the word are:

1. Classification, esp. in relation to its general laws or principles; that department of science, or of a particular science or subject, which consists of or relates to classification; esp. the systematic classification of living organisms.
2. A classification of something; a particular system of classification.

I hope this information might help here. Michael! (talk) 10:23, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
PS: [5] and [6]; Thesaurus: the external world » the living world » living creature » taxonomy » noun: taxonomy (1819); taxinomy (1865); systematy (1912) . Michael! (talk) 11:07, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
Comment: what is the most serious problem here? That Taxonomy redirects to Taxonomy (biology)? I support moving Taxonomy (biology) to Taxonomy. It's nonsense to have Taxonomy as nothing more than a redirect. Or is the major issue the proposed merge of Biological classification and Taxonomy (biology)? There's at least some overlap, perhaps they're even duplicates, thus a good reason to consider a merge. Michael! (talk) 19:38, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
Cf. Apollo, Gallipoli, and Jupiter, which are the main articles, while Apollo (mythology), Gallipoli (peninsula), and Jupiter (planet) are mere redirects to those. There are hundreds (if not thousands or more) of other examples on Wikipedia. Michael! (talk) 10:38, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
Oppose - Surely, the correct way to go about this must be to build up the Taxonomy-article, not to merge the two. Petter Bøckman (talk) 11:14, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

Comment: Whoa back everyone! Some of us seem to be losing perspective. Some appear to be inadequately aware of the original basis for the split. The distinction between taxonomy as a zoological, botanical, generally biological, discipline and practice, or even a geological or chemical one, and the fundamental philosophical or logical concept is stark. Begin by noting the number of taxonomy articles out there. About sixty refer to particular biological taxa and more such may be expected. That leaves us with more or less: Taxonomy, Taxonomy (biology), Taxonomy (disambiguation), Taxonomy (general), Taxonomy of Life, Taxonomy of congestion control, Taxonomy of cultivated plants, Taxonomy of education objectives, Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Taxonomy of educational objectives, Taxonomy of manufacturing processes, Taxonomy mnemonic, Taxonomy of schools. Some are redirs or disambigs. That need not mean that they are unjustified; it can be very hard to find the right article if one does not know where to look. There is little likelihood that anyone interested in reading about the formal principles of taxonomy would care to wade through the practical realities of the various applied taxonomies and the distinctions between them. The reason that there is no article on the subject of taxonomy as a perception of formal or abstract classification is not that the current redirection is all it would have to accommodate, but because no one who contemplated the task at that time had both the time and the confidence to create an article such as Taxonomy (formal). Anyone unable to grasp this, or unaware that the term taxonomy never was contemplated as purely botanical should please not think of trying to do the rest of us favours in this matter; they would ipso facto be under-equipped, especially if they are under the delusion that the word was originally a biological term, or that, if so, it would have mattered a damn. (The first application that I have been able to trace so far (about 1812, as Napoleon was retreating from Moscow) was in a botanical book, but was not the first, and did not suggest that the term applied to botany rather than to identification of graphs of relationships between entities or their abstractions.)

Anyway, note that when there is overlap between any two articles, that is not as such grounds for merging them; in fact there is frequent agitation (which I do not as a rule necessarily support) for splitting articles that some readers find too long and accordingly confusing. IMO the main basis for splitting articles is when, as a unit, such combined topics do not form coherent logical structures, and that was (and still is) emphatically the case with abstract taxonomy as opposed to various branches of applied taxonomy. Consider by way of analogy: medicine is a branch of biology; no one would, I hope, agitate for uniting all our medical articles under Biology? That there are articles that could well be united is inarguable (I haven't checked, but I have a jaundiced eye in the direction of uniting Classification with Taxonomy (biology) for example). But such cases are widely off the current point. No one who cannot at the moment justify a suitable basis for dealing with all the existing articles should be too loud on pushing solutions that are simple, obvious, and wrong. JonRichfield (talk) 14:09, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for your comment, and you are right. Taxonomy is a method applied to many areas. My own point that I could not argue with the split last time was because I had no grounds to argue with it. I am fine with a proposal to put some of them together, but it needs to be done in a way that does justice to the many uses of this word. I will say I doubt the current proposal would come close to meeting this. Hence I too still oppose it. As I stated above. I have seen nothing that would indicate anything new has been brought to the table for us to consider. Faendalimas talk 14:24, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
JonRichfield, thank you for your impressive reply. Michael! (talk) 15:21, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
If taxonomy is a method, what is the "taxonomic method"? Some people noticed that the word taxonomy is used outside of biology, but rather than just assuming that like multiplication or turning it is a word with a common meaning and also with specific uses, they came to the odd conclusion that there must be some formal thing called taxonomy which is applied in all sorts of fields, biology being but one of them. On the contrary, the biological use is primary and the other uses are derivative, built on analogy and the word has entered the general lexicon. Srnec (talk) 20:00, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

Comment: clarification needed: correct me if I'm wrong, but the current situation is that taxonomy immediately redirects to taxonomy (biology). Srnec's proposal is to move taxonomy (biology) to taxonomy, since the latter redirects to the former. This proposal (and no other proposals!) should be discussed here, and arguments should be based on Wikipedia:Article titles.

In my opinion, there are four options:

Any other proposals (such as merging Biological classification and taxonomy (biology), or deleting taxonomy (general)) shouldn't be discussed in this section, but in separate threads. Michael! (talk) 15:21, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

Looking at the discussions I guess making the Taxonomy page be a disambiguation would solve more issues than it creates. So of those options I see the sense in that one. Faendalimas talk 17:19, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for your friendly response Michael! As for your listed options, I prefer the second one (though I certainly would not go to war over the fourth) or getting stuck in and at least starting a formal taxonomy article, or combining those two in the article Taxonomy. OK, let's stop pussyfooting. I have been moaning about this too long. I propose irrespective of what anyone else does unless he is someone with the time and formal expertise, in which case I'll happily stand back, that I write something called Taxonomy (formal) as soon as I have done a bit of ramping up and ref work. Thereafter I'll add it to the pool so that those who think that there should be fusion and that taxonomy is a biological term will at least be able to see the limitations to that point of view and we don't get left with egg on all WP faces when a real expert reads it and roars with laughter publicly. Naturally, I claim no authority, so anything I produce will as always be fair game for bold action etc. Any objections, please present before I waste too much time on the project. JonRichfield (talk) 18:13, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
Nobody thinks biologists own the word "taxonomy". Before you do anything to add to the "pool" (swamp?), I'd like to see what sources you have for this formal sense of "taxonomy". None of this has any bearing on primary usage, which remains biological. Srnec (talk) 20:00, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for your assurances on matters such as that nobody thinks and that biology is the primary usage, assurances that in the context stated, I read to intend the implication that this means that the biological usage has some sort of special status such that either other usages in other disciplines are illegitimate, or at the least that they should be treated as something subordinate, or incorporated as footnotes to the article on biological taxonomy. (You surely did not intend it to mean nothing more persuasive than that biologists use the term more often than human beings do?) Unfortunately, if you had bothered to check some of the earliest applications of the term, never mind how it got coined according to (flawed) etymological construction, you would see that though afaik it first was coined and used by biologists, it was used in an abstract sense that was not peculiar to biology, and the language used included expressions along the lines of "or classification". Frankly, I cannot help suspecting that Compte wanted a grandiose word, because I never noticed where he specifically distinguished taxonomy from classification, nor explained that "classification" as a term was inadequate (please supply the citation if you can provide such an explanation; I am looking for one). Let me know if you are eager for references to support these claims, but I have withheld citation so far in the hope that your French is better than mine, and that you could locate the actual introduction in one of Compte's documents. The on-line translators were decidedly helpful with the documents that I did track down, but not to the extent of making things too easy for non-francophones. And by the way the current contexts I am curious to see your "sources" for the "proper" sense of "taxonomy"; you have not been overwhelmingly forthcoming with your own sources so far, have you? But watch this space; I am still busy... Oh, and btw, I think maybe Taxonomy (principles) might be a better term than "formal"; it is too difficult, and possibly less useful, to stick to strictly formal material. But I am open to alternative suggestions. If this materialises I shall start it in my user space probably sometime soon, say a few days, in which case I'll post a heads-up and address here. JonRichfield (talk) 14:14, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. What an appalling mess, and the more I look at it the messier it becomes. But I don't see any benefit in this particular move. First we need to sort out what we mean by taxonomy, classification, biological taxonomy, and biological classification, and somehow accommodate the unfortunate fact that in modern usage, both of those later terms are claimed by evolutionary biology to describe the tree of life scheme(s). Outside of biology, taxonomy is a very general term (as is classification), but within mainstream biology not so, and this is very politically sensitive owing to creation science etc... Sort this out first. Andrewa (talk) 19:08, 23 April 2013 (UTC)
Comment - I've already stated my opposition to the move, and now (after some modifications have been made to the pages in question) agree with User:Powers above, that it probably makes more sense to move taxonomy (disambiguation) to taxonomy. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 19:36, 23 April 2013 (UTC)


If we have a bunch of interrelated concepts of taxonomy, with no crystal-clear primary topic, might it be best to have a broad-based concept article here? Otherwise I don't see how you could avoid having this be a disambiguation page (my !vote if nothing else works). Red Slash 23:55, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

There is already such a page—Taxonomy (general)—which I recently put up for deletion—see here. It was kept, so I put a tag on suggesting a merger with categorization. I am generally in favour of broad-concept articles, but in this case I am not, since I do not believe there is a broad concept of taxonomy, only a word that has been used far outside of its originally area by analogy. There's nothing wrong with that, or with listing articles that also have "taxonomy" in their name at a disambiguation page. But there is no such thing as "general taxonomy", just biological taxonomy and as many other schemes as people come up with for classifying/naming things. A similar scenario is presented by keyboard. Yes, we can talk about keyboards in general—boards with keys on them—but there is no general concept beyond the dictionary definition, and anything can be a keyboard if it is the right shape and has buttons. Thus, our articles computer keyboard and musical keyboard are not sub-topics of a broad-concept article. Srnec (talk) 00:38, 24 April 2013 (UTC)
I think the whole idea of disambiguating with (general) has lost the plot on disambiguation. If there is an overview article (as distinct from a disambiguation page) describing (at least briefly) all uses of the term, then it should be at the undisambiguated name, and link to the more specific articles with {{main}} links. If our guidelines don't already say that then they should.
The situation is different with keyboard in that there's no overview article. That's appropiate IMO, as keyboards of various sorts are so familiar to most readers of Wikipedia that there would be little interest in such an article. This is not so with taxa and taxonomy. I'm similarly uncomfortable with the current article at taxon being about biology, with not even a hatnote. [7]
The consensus at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Taxonomy (general), as I read it, was that this is a topic that deserves an overview article of its own, and I agree with that. I think you should accept that decision for the moment at least, rather than proceeding with a merge proposal which was at least implicitly already rejected by the discussion and decision at the deletion proposal. Andrewa (talk) 01:11, 24 April 2013 (UTC)
But how can an article on taxonomy describe even briefly all uses of the term? Should such a page really discuss Graham Oppy's taxonomy of ontological arguments that I linked to in the deletion nomination rationale? Just the other day I was reading a book which cited Keith Oatley, "A Taxonomy of the Emotions of Literary Response and a Theory of Identification in Fictional Narrative", Poetics 23 (1994), 53–74. Should he be in the broad-concept article?
My reading of the AFD is that people did not want to see the information lost, so I am suggesting a merger instead of deletion. Unfortunately, with such a big mess it is impossible to disentangle the various issues entirely. By the way, I'm not sure I agree with you that biological taxonomy and bio. classification are distinct. I think it is more correct to say that it has changed over time and is now dominated by cladistics, which is by no means the only possible scheme of taxonomy/classification, although it is often presented that way. Srnec (talk) 01:52, 24 April 2013 (UTC)
Srnec, why should a general article "describe even briefly all uses of the term"? When we discuss Taxonomy (biology), do we describe every taxonomy of beetles, prokaryota, lichens and domestic cats? That is not the point of a general article. The fact that a lot of innocents think "taxonomy" is an impressive word for "list" does not concern us. We might note the fact in an article, but even then only if we can find an encyclopaedic context and format for such a fact -- and if we care; as things stand I for one am unenthusiastic.
I have no difficulty in principle with your idea of merging overviews of related topics into one coherent article with a suitable set of redirs to guide readers, but it is not so much that there is a big mess, as that the task of combining themes into a usefully accessible and coherent structure is daunting. To disentagle them entirely is impossible, not because of the size of the mess, but because of the number of common, or at least overlapping, threads and concepts. Would you undertake to distinguish categorisation from taxonomy for example? When Compte coined the word he did nothing that I could see to distinguish taxonomy and classification. I have only seen some of his works though, so if anyone has a definitive citation of his given reason for coining the term, I should be grateful for a reference and quote. A straw in the wind is the fact that I don't even know how many articles on related themes there are in WP. Categorisation and classification are just two. It might be a useful idea to begin with an alpha taxonomy of such articles before we get too excited. I have begun in a desultory fashion to work on an introduction to general taxonomy, but have not yet begun to formulate it into an article, for example to separate sections or collect reference sources for citation. If any of us are eager to combine efforts, please rattle my cage; until then I will plug on. JonRichfield (talk) 07:41, 24 April 2013 (UTC)
Another small point: Merging articles here would make for a very large article. Better to keep smaller and more concise ones. Petter Bøckman (talk) 09:08, 24 April 2013 (UTC)
I agree. Also the current article rather underplays the relationship between taxonomy and biological nomenclature, and needs some expansion in this respect. Note that the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants is produced by the International Association for Plant Taxonomy. Peter coxhead (talk) 09:18, 24 April 2013 (UTC)
To JonRichfield: It was Andrewa, not me, who said "If there is an overview article (as distinct from a disambiguation page) describing (at least briefly) all uses of the term ..." Try to follow the discussion. I would not distinguish categorisation in a general sense from taxonomy in a general sense, and that's why I've proposed a merger. I'm not sure what you're trying to get at. Srnec (talk) 02:16, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Indeed. But that opinion of mine has received no support. I'm now assuming it's a dead horse, and looking for alternatives that might have a better chance of consensus. Andrewa (talk) 08:58, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Yes, within biology the term taxonomy has a particular meaning, far more specific than in more general usage. That's a key issue. Andrewa (talk) 08:58, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
This is of course true, though personally I am not terribly fussy about article size as such, being more concerned about the risk of winding up with a topic that is so wide that it becomes unwieldy (difficult to read for specific aspects, confusing to separate themes etc). I am suspicious of the idea of agglutinating this topic into too few articles in particular; it seems to me that some of the themes are not mutually of sufficiently general relevance to make it worth combining them. I still am wondering very hard about some of my foregoing questions; they would have a strong bearing on the structure of the selection of articles that we might find useful. JonRichfield (talk) 09:30, 24 April 2013 (UTC)
(Replying to Srnec) But there already is an article whose scope is Taxonomy in general... currently at Taxonomy (general)... and there is consensus that this is or at least contains encyclopedic information, that's a minimal reading of the rejection of the AfD of this article, surely. (I'd read it as a rejection of the merge proposal too, but that seems not to be a consensus reading here, so I'm dropping it.)
It seems to me that the scope of this article (Taxonomy (general)) is exactly an overview article (as distinct from a disambiguation page) describing (at least briefly) all uses of the term.... That obviously doesn't mean listing every occurrence of the term (;-> in literature, or even listing every field that uses the term in its general sense, but it does mean listing significant fields in which taxonomy is an important technical term or jargon (or both) with a significantly different meaning to the general meaning. There may even be only one of these specialised meanings, in biology, and that's the only one we've mentioned to date as far as I can see.
Many if not most uses are adequately covered by the general meaning, and so these don't need special mention in the overview article. They may be useful as examples, and many such are currently given, but they don't all need to be listed for the article to be complete and balanced.
If the move of the DAB to the undisambiguated name taxonomy (as proposed below and generally supported... progress!) goes ahead, then despite what I said above I'd support merging the content from taxonomy (general) into Categorization#Taxonomy or a similar section. It's in some ways the lesser of two evils, but I think it would improve Wikipedia. The (general) disambiguator is still a seriously bad precedent IMO. (The content can't go to Classification#Taxonomy because Classification is already a DAB, and there is no page Classification (general), and <shudder/> let's not go there...)
Alternatively, is there a better disambiguator? Or am I the only one worried by this one? Is it used on other articles (I'm not quite sure how to search for such, help appreciated)? Andrewa (talk) 16:26, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Why would a page titled "taxonomy (general)" list "significant fields in which taxonomy [bears] a significantly different meaning [from] the general meaning"? That doesn't make sense. That's what a dab page does. A page on "taxonomy (general)" is about the general sense of "taxonomy". I am saying that there is nothing more to it than the dictionary definition, and that is what my references to Oppy and Oatley are intended to evidence. What could the page list other than random uses of the term?
If the page cannot be deleted or merged, then I'd propose renaming to Taxonomic theory or taxonomic theories, then broaden the article to describe meta-taxonomy, both of the biological kind and in other disciplines. A quick Google Scholar search suggests that the term is used in many disciplines when discussing how to classify the objects of study. Srnec (talk) 00:57, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
Makes sense. I have not yet settled on a name, which I suggest we select once we have all the Taxonomy articles sorted out. As you say, the term is widely used, so widely that I think half the authors use it because it sounds swankier than "classification", but as I am discovering, there is more to it than that. Mind you, as a matter of curiosity, I still wonder why the word was coined. We most certainly can no longer get away from it, but I have not yet seen a coherent justification for a clean distinction.
OOooopsie... I suppose you realise what you just have done, don't you? Meta-taxonomy. Blast. Hadn't thought of that. Went and looked to see what was on the web. Mostly what I had expected, the sort of thing one might expect from guys who didn't clearly know what taxonomy is, never mind what meta means. Some of them seemed to think it meant adding taxonomies to expand existing different taxonomies. Then there turned out to be software by that name too. Not much that was relevant to us. I gave up for a while, though I might go back to google if anyone has useful suggestions. Now, the way you used the term I can work with, possibly a taxonomy of taxonomies might be an efficient of dealing with the situation. JonRichfield (talk) 16:34, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
Using words like "meta-taxonomy" is as easy as knowing what the prefix "meta-" means and adding it to words when you want to modify their meaning. The term I was referring to in the last sentence of my previous comment was "taxonomic theory", not "meta-taxonomy", by which I meant "discussing how to classify the objects of study". I am suggesting that that would be a better scope for the article presently called "taxonomy (general)". You can touch on however many taxonomies you like, biological and otherwise, in discussing (from RS) different methodologies or techniques of classifying and categorizing. Srnec (talk) 23:31, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
That doesn't make sense. That's what a dab page does. No, a DAB page lists only articles; It should not contain much, if any, other information. The page at taxonomy (general) does describe significant fields in which taxonomy [bears] a significantly different meaning [from] the general meaning. A DAB should not do that. We know that you'd like to delete that article. That has been rejected. Let's move on. Andrewa (talk) 01:51, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
I didn't say a dab page describes articles, just that it lists them. My words exactly: Why would a page titled "taxonomy (general)" list "significant fields in which taxonomy [bears] a significantly different meaning [from] the general meaning"?
Since it seems agreed that we have a mess on our hands, I'm more than willing to move on from the rejected proposal to find a solution. In fact, I think I've made my ranked preferences very clear. Srnec (talk) 05:41, 27 April 2013 (UTC)


Perhaps it's premature, but after (re)reading the complete discussion here, I think several facts are obvious and are unlikely to change soon (please correct me if I'm wrong):

Therefore I conclude the only option is the default option, e.g. to move Taxonomy (disambiguation) to Taxonomy, especially since there is no consensus for any other alternative. Michael! (talk) 21:20, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

I support that conclusion and proposal. It's not a complete solution, but it's a good start. Andrewa (talk) 01:36, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
I also support that for now. Srnec (talk) 02:16, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Support - thank you Michael! for that carefully considered analysis. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 14:21, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Agree, it's very well done. Well scoped, constructive and timely. Andrewa (talk) 16:32, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Looks good to me. I am happy that there seems to be a lot of support for Michael's view. JonRichfield (talk) 17:34, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Coming into this late... Michael!'s analysis above is very good, and hasn't generated any opposition in the last three days, so I've boldly gone ahead and Yes check.svg Done it. — Scott talk 16:33, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

Now. I am making better progress than I had hoped (though slower than I should have liked - pressures and all that, as usual, sorry!) with a fundamental principles of taxonomy page, though I have not yet made up my mind on the best name. I suspect it is one of those cases that the name should be the last thing considered. What I should like to know is whether anyone would like to have a look at the ... well ... not actual draft, but skeletal pre-draft out of anything from curiosity to eagerness to help or oppose. I should have something by Monday, Apr 29. It is not actually necessary, but just in case...? JonRichfield (talk) 17:34, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.


As someone added a reference I guess we should have a reflist. Faendalimas talk 19:46, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
Sorry about that! Mea culpa. Thanks. There are earlier references (back to 1812 at least, but those I have seen are in French. If anyone is terribly keen I could ref them as well). JonRichfield (talk) 17:09, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
No problem, I would be interested in references, I think its always better to see them. I read the one you did link. Cheers Faendalimas talk 19:06, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
  1. ^ The Methodist Review. Methodist book concern. 1852. pp. 142–. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  2. ^ Wikipedia:Disambiguation#Disambiguation page or hatnotes?

History of the terms[edit]

There have been a couple of comments to the effect that the terms taxon and taxonomy were originally specific to the field of biology, and that the usage has since (fairly recently in fact) been broadened. It would be really good to source this. (PDF, 308KB) starts with a section History of taxonomy which sort of presupposes this. But that's not nearly specific enough. is titled What's in a name? A history of taxonomy and starts out Taxonomy is arguably the world's oldest profession, and naming and classifying what's around us is part of the human condition. Scientific naming began with the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in the eighteenth century. That's very much along the same lines. is titled The History of TAXONOMY, and starts out There have been many examples on classifying of the plants through time, and there will probably come more. The first known is from China around 3600 B. C. The first known European is from around 300 B. C., and taxonomists are right now working on the latest edition of APG. Later the author is upfront that the page is very much a personal view, and claims to have consulted 90 sources but is similarly upfront that they are not going to list them. But the interesting thing is that they use the term taxonomy scoped down not just to biology, but to plants. is not a reliable source for many reasons. But it's interesting that the question What is theoretical taxonomy, historical taxonomy & visual taxonomy mean? was answered (two years ago) by quoting Wikipedia. Not a lot of participants there, admittedly. taxonomy, in a broad sense, the science of classification, but more strictly the classification of living and extinct organisms—i.e., biological classification. The term is derived from the Greek taxis (“arrangement”) and nomos (“law”). Taxonomy is, therefore, the methodology and principles of systematic botany and zoology and sets up arrangements of the kinds of plants and animals in hierarchies of superior and subordinate groups. Sounds good.

And it's very, very interesting that this Britannica article is headed taxonomy (biology) in the page metadata! So we are not the first encyclopedists to encounter this particular conundrum.

Better sources, anyone? Andrewa (talk) 17:06, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

Well. That is nice work of yours so far anyway. I am beginning to wonder whether there are better sources. I have found some useful French ones in, in particular [8] [9] [10] [11] JonRichfield (talk) 19:04, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
About the de Candolle citation that is last in that list, there are translations, but this book
Stevens, P.F. (1994). The Development of Biological Systematics: Antoine-Laurent De Jussieu, Nature, and the Natural System. COLUMBIA University Press. ISBN 9780231064408. 
goes into a great deal of detail. If you can access page 230, it says some interesting things about de Candolle's ideas being mistranslated and misunderstood. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 20:05, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
Fascinating... I just had a look at the first, the 1830 work by Auguste Comte. I read French passably well, but there do also seem to be published translations of this, at least as early as 1865 (republished 2009) and possibly in 1856. These would be far more interesting, as we're primarily interested in English attestations of the term taxonomy. But even in French it's very interesting that he distinguishes zootaxie, biotaxie and théorie taxonomique universelle. It very much seems to back up the hearsay we have had previously... what he is describing is a generalisation of the theory of biotaxie, and almost thirty years before On the Origin of Species. Andrewa (talk) 02:22, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

Merge proposal[edit]

Merged to Taxonomy (biology). Brandmeistertalk 09:25, 31 March 2015 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

A merge has been proposed since April, but no discussion was in place. Also, no clear choice as to which article should be merged into which was proposed. Since I support that Biological classification be merged into the Taxonomy (biology) article, I have altered the Merge templates to Merge to and Merge from. So please consider this a:

  • Support – Here are two articles about essentially the same subject – scientific classification of biological species. Since "taxonomy" is the term for the science itself, then the Biological classification article should be merged into the Taxonomy (biology) article. – PAINE ELLSWORTH CLIMAX! 20:18, 7 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose – Classification is part of taxonomy, not the same as. This is explained, with sources, at Systematics#Definition and relation with taxonomy. There is a need to improve and make consistent the three articles Biological classification, Taxonomy (biology) and Systematics, but merger would be wrong. Peter coxhead (talk) 22:48, 7 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose - per above statement. Extracted from the Systematics article: ... taxonomy ... is more specifically the identification, description, and naming (i.e. nomenclature) of organisms, while "classification" is focused on placing organisms within hierarchical groups that show their relationships to other organisms. Extracted from the Taxonomy article: The exact definition of taxonomy varies slightly from source to source, but the core of the discipline remains: the conception, naming, and classification of organism groups. Extracted from the Biological classification article: Classification has been defined by Ernst Mayr as "The arrangement of entities in a hierarchical series of nested classes, in which similar or related classes at one hierarchical level are combined comprehensively into more inclusive classes at the next higher level." Notable differences between the two, so they should be kept separate. ComfyKem (talk) 15:18, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Support. The Oxford Dictionary of Ecology defines taxonomy as "The scientific classification of organisms", adding that "By extension, the term is also given a wider use". The Dictionary of Biology says "The study of the theory, practice, and rules of classification of living and extinct organisms. The naming, description, and classification of a given organism draws on evidence from a number of fields." Of systematics, it says that "it is sometimes used as a synonym for taxonomy." In the Dictionary of Plant Sciences and the Dictionary of Zoology, it is "the scientific classification of organisms." Srnec (talk) 21:48, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Support. I support the proposal to merge Biological classification into the Taxonomy (biology) article. Thanks ComfyKem for your views on the long ignored mistake. Today I happened to notice a similar conflict between articles Eye and Human eye. I don't know how to bring the subject to light.. perhaps skilled users like ComfyKem could do something :-) Bilingual2000 (talk) 16:57, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
    I don't know about you, but the details about the compound eye of a Krill do not apply to my human eyes. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 17:28, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
    Ah yes Sminthopsis84, that was a mistake or poor comprehension of the subject... Later I checked both articles and realised both articles differ from each other.. its a matter of language barrier too, Thanks for pointing out my blunder :) Bilingual2000 (talk) 02:53, 15 June 2013 (UTC)
 :) Sminthopsis84 (talk) 19:25, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Support - I support the proposal to merge, since after reading the two articles carefully it appears to me that they cover the same subject and contain the same scope. The true distinction, I believe, is to be made between taxonomy as a general science and taxonomy as applied in biology. We already have this: taxonomy (general) and taxonomy (biology). Thus, I see no reason for the large overlap seen between "taxonomy (biology)" and "Biological classification". To be certain, there are differences between Linnaean classification, cladistics, phylogenetics, systematics, etc., but the more I consider the issue, the clearer it becomes that articles "taxonomy in biology" and "biological classification" refer to precisely the same thing. JSquish (talk) 00:39, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
    I definitely disagree that they are "precisely the same thing". The well-sourced section at Taxonomy (biology)#Definition may be the key here. It says that the core of biological taxonomy is the conception, nomenclature and classification of groups of organisms. This definition is certainly not universally agreed by all sources, but seems to have stood in the English Wikipedia for a while now and is probably the best we can do. On this definition, biological classification is part of biological taxonomy, but they aren't the same. Pragmatically however, it may be that biological classification is best treated as within an article on biological taxonomy. Like others, I'm not yet sure either way. Peter coxhead (talk) 13:30, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment A problem is that "taxonomy", along with "systematics", isn't used consistently by reliable sources, as has been noted before. Discussion at WT:PLANTS supported the use of "taxonomy" in its very broad sense, e.g. using it as the section title – see Wikipedia:WikiProject_Plants/Template#Taxonomy. "Taxonomy" in this sense is clearly not just classification, so internal consistency suggests not merging. I'd also like to see those in favour of a merge explaining how Alpha taxonomy would fit in. Peter coxhead (talk) 15:16, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment I don't feel ready to vote one way or the other on this merger suggestion, although I agree that as currently written there is an unfortunate degree of overlap between the two pages. Overall, it may be premature to merge because the two pages are just not good enough for clarity to emerge. Peter's very good point about Alpha taxonomy, however, I do feel ready to suggest could receive drastic action, and will make a suggestion on its talk page. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 18:18, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Support Lots of overlap, particularly in the history sections. --JayaJune (talk) 00:48, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Support This article has less information than Biological classification, and it is about essentially the same subject. This should be deleted and then have a redirect from taxonomy to Biological classification.Spirit469 (talk) 03:20, 4 October 2014 (UTC)
  • Support For the more pedantic people, note than in biology we have biosystematics, systematics, taxonomy, and classification, which are practically having the same meaning, even though specific definition of each terminology tends to differ. Take for example, systematics discusses nothing but taxonomy, they can also be merged. Chhandama (talk) 03:25, 19 December 2014 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Removed section[edit]

I removed the section "Limits and alternatives" via this edit. First, this section was too WP:POV, supported by references that are too narrow. Second, it was not really about limits and alternatives to "taxonomy" but about alternative systems of nomenclature, which would still be taxonomy. Peter coxhead (talk) 12:35, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

  • 'too WP:POV' untrue. The section improve the NPOV. It's a common practise for science paper to include a section of limits. No science is perfect. And the criticism of the system is significant in the scientific communities. The article fail to present it.
  • 'it was not really about limits and alternatives to "taxonomy" but about alternative systems of nomenclature,'
Untrue, if you actually researched into the sources you will see. For example, the alternative of reference points using cooridnator instead of taxonomy. (talk) 20:46, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

Above you used the word "system" again. What "system" was being criticised? The article is about taxonomy, defined as "the science of defining groups of biological organisms on the basis of shared characteristics and giving names to those groups". What was being criticised? Defining groups of biological organisms on the basis of shared characters? No. Using coordinates for reference points and looking at the distance between them still relies on groups. Giving names to groups? No. You wrote "In the alternative system. Homo sapiens can be labelled as ‘Homo-sapiens, homo.sapiens, homosapiens, sapiens1, sapiens0127654 and so on’". These are names, just different ones.
As for NPOV, "fringe" views do not need to be explained. Alternative mainstream ones do. Where is the evidence that Ian Stewart's or Jenia Meng's are notable within biological taxonomy?
Alternatives to the traditional Linnean rank-based nomenclature which do have some notability, such as the Phylocode approach, should certainly be discussed here, with appropriate weight. In this context, the "coordinates" approach could also be briefly mentioned. However, not as a criticism of taxonomy. Peter coxhead (talk) 22:19, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
SImilar material was added at Biological classification and was removed by other editors, and there is some discussion on that talk page. As I remarked there, and as the discussion above seems to confirm, the material is not readily understandable. Okay, I see that it is not intended to be merely a system of nomenclature, but it is not at all clear how it differs from the very large fields of phenetics and/or phylogenetics. We are writing for a general audience, and if we specialists can't understand the material, then it seems likely that those less experienced in wrestling with the philosophy and mechanics of taxonomy may have even more difficulty. Material that isn't clear enough for a general audience doesn't belong here. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 22:47, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
Hi all. Anon has accused me of being disingenuous with my rationale for the original revision so I wanted to elaborate on my concerns here. That is, this is in an attempt to make clear to Anon the validity of my concerns. I do understand that these have already been raised by other editors.
  • The bold uncited claims include "Life forms are on an evolutionary continuum", "Drawing lines between different life forms is convenient but arbitrary", and "Many modern scientists think the taxonomy system is no longer adequate to describe the complexity of biological world".
  • Just one example where there is a significant lack of clarity is this sentence: "The reference points are life forms with particular features". How are "reference points" applied to life forms? What is the relationship between reference points? What types of features are used?
  • With regard to the notability issue, the very recent nature of the sources was the red flag for me.
I hope that clarifies things and that these perhaps resonate with Anon. Cheers Andrew (talk) 02:50, 24 October 2013 (UTC)

Moving the other discussion to here, the following material was added at Biological classification 13 hours ago:

Life forms are on an evolutionary continuum. Mathematically speaking the drawing of lines between different life forms is arbitrary. Many modern scientists think the taxonomy system is no longer adequate to describe the complexity of biological world. More than a dozen alternatives were proposed. [1][2] In the alternative system. Homo sapiens can be labelled as ‘Homo-sapiens, homo.sapiens, homosapiens, sapiens1, sapiens0127654 and so on’[1]. Dr Jenia Meng proposed a non-classification system. The system is based on selected reference points. The reference points are life forms with particular features, such as the average feature (measured quantitatively) of a species. Other life forms are described by its evolutionary distances to the referencing points. The system is a multidimensional vector space. Reference points are axes of the space. All life forms are dots in the space. The coordinators of the dots are the identification of the life forms[2]

It is written in a mathematical assertion style that doesn't work for an empirical science such as biology. Starting with the very first statement "Life forms are on an evolutionary continuum.", that is not established, in fact, it matches the Aristotelian/Lamarckian view of biology that pre-dates the discovery of DNA, mutation, and punctuated equilibrium. The rest of the material is no better. We could all draw dots and lines on a restaurant napkin, but that isn't science, and it doesn't belong on a wikipedia page about taxonomy or biology. This material, as written, sounds no more scientific than such napkin doodles. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 13:32, 24 October 2013 (UTC)


  1. ^ a b Ian Stwart, Mathematics of life. page 36
  2. ^ a b Meng, Jenia, (2009). Origins of attitudes towards animals. Ultravisum, Brisbane. pp. 258 ISBN 9780980842517

Shennong is not an historical person[edit]

The current version of this article contains the sentences: "In the East, one of the earliest recorded pharmacopoeias was written by Shen Nung, Emperor of China (c. 3000 BC). He wanted to spread information related to agriculture and medicine, and is said to have tasted hundreds of plants with the goal of learning their medicinal value. Records after this are difficult to interpret for some time...." Shennong is a mythological person. There are no real records of Chinese history that are vaguely that old. As well, the earliest Chinese writing is attested to around 1200 BCE. Citing Shennong is roughly equivalent to citing Adam as the first taxonomist, following the account of Genesis. The citation links to a lecture, which in turn misquotes this page which makes no claim about the date the Shennong pen ts'ao ching actually was composed, (and in turn gives no reliable sources). The claim that there is a record of Chinese taxanomy from 2700 BCE is absurd, ahistorical and the quoted text should be expunged. Bebopbutunsteady (talk) 03:39, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

micro and macro taxonomy[edit]

i have no idea what this means. Does anyone know? Please add to the wikipedia article — Preceding unsigned comment added by Pramit57 (talkcontribs) 16:54, 29 May 2015 (UTC)

That's a good point. I've added a section. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 21:21, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

Medieval taxonomy[edit]

A section on medieval taxonomy (c. 300s - 1500s AD) would be greatly appreciated.--Sığe |д=) 00:28, 8 November 2015 (UTC)

Requested move 5 December 2015[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: not moved. Scope concerns as per Peter coxhead. Jenks24 (talk) 12:58, 14 December 2015 (UTC)

Taxonomy (biology)Biological Classification – this name seems to be more popular and is searched more extensively than the current one. Ankit2299 (talk) 18:20, 5 December 2015 (UTC)

  • Oppose as per comments by User:Peter coxhead. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 01:52, 6 December 2015 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

External links modified[edit]

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External links modified[edit]

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