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Classification

You can sort and classify anything, and with about 1.7 million species of plant, animal and micro organism, so far discovered, scientists need a way to organize and name them! Modern classification attempts to put structure and order to the huge amount of information that has been collected on different organisms. This is done by giving each one a unique name and sorting them into hierarchies of increasingly exclusive (getting smaller) groups (or taxa) based on how similar, and therefore, how closely related they are. The taxa for the Animal Kingdom and a worked example (the Lion) are shown below:

Taxa     Examples
Kingdom Animal click to enlarge coral, crab, octopus, frog, hawk, shark, crocodile, Sperm Whale, Elephant, Giraffe, Wild Boar, Badger, Wolf, Bear, Cheetah, Leopard, Lion
Phylum Vertebrate click to enlarge frog, hawk, shark, crocodile, Sperm Whale, Elephant, Giraffe, Wild Boar, Badger, Wolf, Bear, Cheetah, Leopard, Lion
Class Mammal click to enlarge Sperm Whale, Elephant, Giraffe, Wild Boar, Badger, Wolf, Bear, Cheetah, Leopard, Lion
Order Carnivora click to enlarge Badger, Wolf, Bear, Cheetah, Leopard, Lion
Family Cat click to enlarge Cheetah, Leopard, Lion
Genus Panthera click to enlarge Leopard, Lion
Species leo click to enlarge Lion

So the smallest group (the species) only has one type of creature – in this case the Lion. The scientific (latin) name for any species is its genus name followed by its species name. In this way the Lion is Panthera leo and the Leopard (which is closely related, so it is in the same genus) is Panthera pardus . Notice by convention the name is either written in italics or underlined and the genus name is given a capital letter while the species is small case.


Which are found in Lebanon?
Found in Lebanon
(or in the Mediterranean sea) now
Was found in
Lebanon but
now extinct
Never found
in Lebanon
Coral – soft corals are found on the coast Bear Crocodile
Crab – lots; salt and fresh water Leopard Elephant
Octopus – common off the coast Lion Giraffe
Frog – common (4 species of frogs and toads)   Cheetah
Hawk – several species particularly on migration    
Shark – several species off the coast    
Sperm Whale – rare but is found in the Med. sea    
Wild Boar – quite common    
Badger - present    
Wolf – very rare    
 
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