Taxonomic sequence

''This article is about the sequence of species in a taxonomic list; for the taxonomic rank, see Order (biology)

Taxonomic sequence (also known as systematic order or taxonomic order) is an order followed in listing of taxa which aids ease of use and roughly reflects the evolutionary relationships among the taxa. Taxonomic sequences can exist for taxa within any rank, that is, a list of families, genera, species can each have a sequence.

Early biologists used the concept of "age" or "primitiveness" of the groups in question to derive an order of arrangement, with "older" or more "primitive" groups being listed first and more recent or "advanced" ones last. A modern understanding of evolutionary biology has brought about a more robust framework for the taxonomic ordering of lists. A list may be seen as a rough one-dimensional representation of a phylogenetic tree. Taxonomic sequences are essentially heuristic devices that help in arrangements of linear systems such as books and information retrieval systems. Although derived from phylogenies, there is no unique sequences for a given classification although the general rules of the placing the more primitive groups first, and keeping closely related groups together are followed.

The organization of field guides and taxonomic monographs may either follow or prescribe the taxonomic sequence; changes in these sequences are often introduced by new publications.


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