CARL LINNAEUS

As a naturalist Carl Linnaeus,  must rank second only to Charles Darwin.

During his life he wrote several Natural history books of great value, the most important of which was Systema Naturae. This included a classification of every animal and plan known at the time. Although his classification has been modified considerably he established the binomial system by which each plant and animal has two latin names. The first part is its generic name, and the second is its specific name. Thus man is called Homo Sapiens. Each living thing therefore was giving a slot in the filling cabinet of living things. He created some order for the previously unmanageable mass of known facts and it was made possible for biologists the world over to refer specifically to a particular organism. He might well be credited with establishing a means of communication in biology.

Carl Linnaeus was born in 1707, the first son of a Swedish clergyman. As a child he spent man of leisure hours collecting animals and plants.

He studied medicine, first at Uppsala University in Sweden and then in Holland, returning to practise in Sweden. The collection of detailed observations of specimens still remained a major interest however, and from 1741, when he became a professor at Uppsala and received the botanical garden there, until the end of his life he devoted most of his time to this pursuit.

Though Carl Linnaeus was primarily a classifier or systematist he made many observations outside this facet of biology. Such were his experiments on the breeding of plants under varied conditions.

Carl Linnaeus died in 1778.

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