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Binomial Nomenclature


Binomial nomenclature is a system of naming the organisms scientifically by giving them a name of two words, also called epithets. Such a name is called a binomial name, a binomen or a scientific name. The first part of the name is the generic epithet and refers to the genus to which the species belongs and its first letter is capitalized. While the second name is the specific epithet which refers to the name of the species. Typically, the name is chosen on the basis of characteristics or traits specific to the genus and species, in the case of generic epithet or specific epithet respectively.  The names usually have a Latin base. The scientific name is either Latinized and if handwritten then both parts of the name are underlined separately. In some organisms, the species are further divided into subspecies. The subspecies name is presented after the species name. This system of naming the organisms was developed by Carolus Linnaeus; a Swedish physician and Botanist, in 1758.

Still today, biologists use the Linnean system of nomenclature, however, some of the original categories of Linnaeus have been changed to better reflect the relationships among organisms.


A few examples of Binomial nomenclature are given here. The humans belong to the genus Homo and their species name is sapiens, so the binomial name of human becomes Homo sapiens. The only living sand dune cat is named as Felis margarita. Generic epithet = Felis, Specific epithet = margarita. The scientific name of, house fly is Musca Domestica, of dog is Canis familiaris, of Mango is Mangifera Indica, of wheat is Triticum aestivum. 

The Need of Binomial Nomenclature

Without an organized system of naming organisms, it was nearly impossible to conduct discussions even between peers who have the same mother tongue. Because each organism has more than one colloquial names.The binomial system was developed to bring clarity to the discussions of organisms and their classification as well.

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