What Did Carl Linnaeus Invent?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Mar 31, 2020 5:42:36 AM ET

Carl Linnaeus, also known as Carolus Linnaeus or Carl von Linné, invented a classification system used to name living things. His classification system, called binomial nomenclature, is still being used and puts species into a hierarchical order.

Binomial nomenclature consists of naming each species by two Latin names: a genus name and a species name. Linnaeus even went so far as to place genera into orders, orders into classes and classes into kingdoms to put organisms into hierarchies and show relationships between organisms.

The binomial nomenclature naming system has several advantages over using common names to denote species. Scientists from different countries can refer to a species without getting confused. Binomial nomenclature transcends cultures and dialects. Common names may be the same for several species. For example, oak trees can belong to one of several different species. Binomial nomenclature differentiates between various species, whereas common names may not.