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OriginsThe Search for Our Prehistoric Past$
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Frank H. T. Rhodes

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501702440

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501702440.001.0001

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Classification: The Diversity of Life

Classification: The Diversity of Life

(p.43) 4 Classification: The Diversity of Life

Frank H. T. Rhodes

Cornell University Press

This chapter concerns the abundance, diversity, patterns, classification, and distribution of life. The extravagant variety of both animals and plants is reflected in the number of species that have been recognized and named. After 250 years of taxonomic classification, at least 1.5–1.8 million species of animals and plants have been identified and named, although the exact number is uncertain, because of the vast literature, variety of languages, and adequacy of published descriptions. Alongside these factors preventing a more precise understanding of life, the chapter also delves into the histories of how methods of making sense of the diversity of life had come about, and how they are applied today.

Keywords:   life, taxonomy, diversity, species, taxonomic classification

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