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Binomial Nomenclature

By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on

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The system of biological classification used today was developed by Carolus Linnaeus in 1758. His two-name system is referred to as binomial nomenclature: The first name identifies the genus; the other identifies the species.

Using this system, scientists throughout the world can refer unambiguously to the same organisms by the same names. The name of the taxonomist who first proposed the species is often added to the name (Homo sapiens Linnaeus = modern human species). The generic name is always capitalized, whereas the specific name is not, and both names are italicized.