What Did Carolus Linnaeus Contribute to Science?

The University of California Museum of Paleontology at Berkley states that Carolus Linnaeus, also known as Carl von Linné and Carl Linnaeus, is often called the “Father of Taxonomy” for his system of naming, ranking and classifying organisms. He is also known as the founder of binomial nomenclature.

Linnaeus classified living organisms as being from either the plant or animal kingdom. Each kingdom was divided into smaller groups referred to as classes. Each class was divided into orders. Every order was split into genera. Each genus divided into species, and each division was made based upon specific features.

Linnaeus described 4,300 species of animals in his 1735 book “Systema Naturae” and 5,000 species of plants in his 1737 book, “Geenera Plantarum” This classification system, with its many additions, revisions and modifications, is used worldwide.

Linnaeus’ other significant scientific contribution was his system of binomial nomenclature. This system gives a scientific name consisting of two words to every plant and animal species. The first word describes the name of the genus, while the second word denotes the name of the species. Scientists throughout the world continue to use this system.

Linnaeus was born in Sweden on May 23, 1707, and he died on Jan. 10, 1778 in Uppsala. He studied botany at Uppsala University. He later explored the Swedish Lapland and studied medicine in Holland. It was during his studies in Holland that Linnaeus first developed his classification system and binomial nomenclature.