Modern taxonomy was developed during the 18th century by the Swedish naturalist Carl von Linne. Writing under the Latinized name Carolus Linnaeus, Linn compiled an exhaustive list of the plants and animals he encountered in his travels.
Using information he gathered himself and data sent to him by colleagues, Linnaeus developed a new method for categorizing living species. At the time, plants and animals were known by long descriptive names in Latin that didn't necessarily bear any relation to each other. Linnaeus gave each organism a distinct species name and grouped multiple species into a higher-level group he called genus. This practice remains in use.