Carl Linnaeus (Swedish original name Carl Linnæus, also Carl Nilsson Linnæus, Latinized as Carolus Linnæus, also known after his ennoblement as Carl von Linné, Latinized as Carolus a Linné, 23 May 1707 – 10 January 1778) was a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, who laid the foundations for the modern scheme of binomial nomenclature. He is known as the father of modern taxonomy, and is also considered one of the fathers of modern ecology.
Linnaeus was born in the countryside of Småland, in southern Sweden. His father was the first in his ancestry to adopt a permanent last name; before that, ancestors had used the patronymic naming system of Scandinavian countries. His father adopted the Latin-form name Linnæus after a giant linden tree on the family homestead. This name was spelled with the æ ligature, which was also used by his son Carl in his handwritten documents and publications.
Linnaeus got most of his higher education at Uppsala University and began giving lectures in botany there in 1730. He lived abroad between 1735–1738, where he studied and also published a first edition of his Systema Naturae in the Netherlands. He then returned to Sweden where he became professor of botany at Uppsala. In the 1740s, he was sent on several journeys through Sweden to find and classify plants and animals. In the 1750s and 60s, he continued to collect and classify animals, plants, and minerals, and published several volumes. At the time of his death, he was renowned as one of the most acclaimed scientists in Europe.
The Swiss philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau sent him the message: "Tell him I know no greater man on earth." The German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote: "With the exception of Shakespeare and Spinoza, I know no one among the no longer living who has influenced me more strongly." Swedish author August Strindberg wrote: "Linnaeus was in reality a poet who happened to become a naturalist". Among other compliments, Linnaeus has been called "Princeps botanicorum" ("Prince of Botanists"), "The Pliny of the North" and "The Second Adam".
In botany, the author abbreviation used to indicate Linnaeus as the authority for species names is simply L.
In 1959 Carl Linnaeus was designated as lectotype for Homo sapiens, which means that following the nomenclatural rules Homo sapiens was validly defined as the animal species to which Linnaeus belonged.
Biological classification, or scientific classification in biology, is a method by which biologists group and categorize organisms by biological type, such as genus or species. Biological classification is a form of scientific taxonomy, but should be distinguished from folk taxonomy, which lacks scientific basis.
Modern biological classification has its root in the work of Carolus Linnaeus, who grouped species according to shared physical characteristics. These groupings have since been revised to improve consistency with the Darwinian principle of common descent. Molecular phylogenetics, which uses DNA sequences as data, has driven many recent revisions and is likely to continue to do so. Biological classification belongs to the science of biological systematics.
In biological classification, rank is the level (the relative position) in a hierarchy. There are 7 main ranks defined by the international nomenclature codes: Kingdom, phylum/division, class, order, family, genus, species. "Domain", a level above kingdom, has become popular in recent years, but has not (yet) been accepted into the codes.
The most basic rank is that of species, the next most important is genus, and then family. Sometimes (but only rarely) the term "taxonomic category" is used instead of "rank".
The International Code of Zoological Nomenclature defines rank, in the nomenclatural sense, as:
The level, for nomenclatural purposes, of a taxon in a taxonomic hierarchy (e.g. all families are for nomenclatural purposes at the same rank, which lies between superfamily and subfamily). The ranks of the family group, the genus group, and the species group at which nominal taxa may be established are stated in Articles 10.3, 10.4, 35.1, 42.1 and 45.1.