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In biology, kingdom (Latin: regnum, plural regna) is the second highest taxonomic rank, just below domain. Kingdoms are divided into smaller groups called phyla.

Traditionally, some textbooks from the United States and Canada used a system of six kingdoms (Animalia, Plantae, Fungi, Protista, Archaea/Archaebacteria, and Bacteria/Eubacteria) while textbooks in countries like Great Britain, India, Greece, Brazil and other countries use five kingdoms only (Animalia, Plantae, Fungi, Protista and Monera).

Some recent classifications based on modern cladistics have explicitly abandoned the term "kingdom", noting that the traditional kingdoms are not monophyletic, i.e., do not consist of all the descendants of a common ancestor.

Definition and associated terms

When Carl Linnaeus introduced the rank-based system of nomenclature into biology in 1735, the highest rank was given the name "kingdom" and was followed by four other main or principal ranks: class, order, genus and species.[1] Later two further main ranks were introduced, making the sequence kingdom, phylum or division, class, order, family, genus and species.[2] In 1990, the rank of domain was introduced above kingdom.[3]

Prefixes can be added so subkingdom (subregnum) and infrakingdom (also known as infraregnum) are the two ranks immediately below kingdom. Superkingdom may be considered as an equivalent of domain or empire or as an independent rank between kingdom and domain or subdomain. In some classification systems the additional rank branch (Latin: ramus) can be inserted between subkingdom and infrakingdom, e.g., Protostomia and Deuterostomia in the classification of Cavalier-Smith.[4]

History

Two kingdoms of life

The classification of living things into animals and plants is an ancient one. Aristotle (384–322 BC) classified animal species in his History of Animals, while his pupil Theophrastus (c. 371–c. 287 BC) wrote a parallel work, the Historia Plantarum, on plants.[5]

Carl Linnaeus (1707–1778) laid the foundations for modern biological nomenclature, now regulated by the Traditionally, some textbooks from the United States and Canada used a system of six kingdoms (Animalia, Plantae, Fungi, Protista, Archaea/Archaebacteria, and Bacteria/Eubacteria) while textbooks in countries like Great Britain, India, Greece, Brazil and other countries use five kingdoms only (Animalia, Plantae, Fungi, Protista and Monera).

Some recent classifications based on modern cladistics have explicitly abandoned the term "kingdom", noting that the traditional kingdoms are not monophyletic, i.e., do not consist of all the descendants of a common ancestor.

When Carl Linnaeus introduced the rank-based system of nomenclature into biology in 1735, the highest rank was given the name "kingdom" and was followed by four other main or principal ranks: class, order, genus and species.[1] Later two further main ranks were introduced, making the sequence kingdom, phylum or division, class, order, family, genus and species.[2] In 1990, the rank of domain was introduced above kingdom.[3]

Prefixes can be added so subkingdom (subregnum) and infrakingdom (also known as infraregnum) are the two ranks immediately below kingdom. Superkingdom may be considered as an equivalent of domain or empire or as an independent rank between kingdom and domain or subdomain. In some classification systems the additional rank branch (Latin: ramus) can be inserted between subkingdom and infrakingdom, e.g., Protostomia and Deuterostomia in the classification of Cavalier-Smith.[4]

History

Two kingdoms of life

The classification of living things into animals and plants is an ancient one. Aristotle (384–322 BC) classified animal species in his History of Animals, while his pupil Theophrastus (c. 371–c. 287 BC) wrote a parallel work, the Historia Plantarum, on plants.[5]

Carl Linnaeus (1707–1778) laid the foundations for modern biological nomenclature, now regulated by the Nomenclature Codes, in 1735. He distinguished two kingdoms of living things: Regnum Animale ('animal kingdom') and Regnum Vegetabile ('vegetable kingdom', for plants). Linnaeus also included minerals in his classification system, placing them in a third kingdom, Regnum Lapideum.