The pioneer of taxonomy, and of many sciences, was the Greek philosopher Aristotle (384–322 BC). He sought to catalog all known species of animal into higher categories, some of which are still used. His approach was distinctive in its methodology and its ambition. He recognized that not every species could be identified by a single distinguishing feature or characteristic. This permitted him to correctly classify problematic creatures such as the bat, with its anomalous ability to fly among otherwise mammalian features. Aristotle's disciple Theophrastus (c.372–287 BC) extended this method to plants.
Aberdein, A. (2009). Biology: Classification Systems. In K. L. Lerner & B. W. Lerner (Eds.), In Context Series. Scientific Thought: In Context (Vol. 1, pp. 167-176). Detroit, MI: Gale. Retrieved from http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX3058900029/GVRL?u=61wa_corpus&sid=GVRL&xid=c8fba14d
Classification is a method of organizing plants and animals into categories based on their appearance and the natural relationships between them. Also called scientific classification, it is science's way of identifying and grouping living things. The classification of organisms is a science called taxonomy, or systematics.
In the life sciences, the need to organize is very important and extremely useful. Classification helps biologists keep track of living things and to study their differences and similarities. It also shows biologists how living things are related to one another through evolution (the process by which living things change over generations). Classifying also saves time and effort. There are many possible ways to classify life: appearance, behavior, evolutionary history, or life development from fertilization to adulthood. The modern classification system is considered a natural system since it represents genuine relationships between organisms. In this natural system, the more closely organisms are related to each other, the more features they have in common. This system is also hierarchical, meaning that its categories are grouped according to size in a series of successively larger ranks.