Nomenclature is a way of providing distinct scientific names to living entities such as plants, animals, microorganisms, and other living things. 

A standardized naming system is required in order for it to be universally acknowledged across the world. As a result, a system known as binomial nomenclature emerged. This contributed significantly to the preservation of standards in the naming of living things.

The purpose of this article is to describe binomial nomenclature in greater detail, as well as to include the definition, value and examples.

What is binomial nomenclature?

Carl Linnaeus developed the binomial nomenclature system for naming organisms. Linnaeus published Systema Naturae, a huge treatise in which he attempted to name every known plant and animal. 

Between 1735 and 1758, this book was published in many different sections, and it established the binomial nomenclature rules that are still used today. His books are regarded as the foundation of contemporary biological nomenclature.

Binomial nomenclature was created to aid in the understanding of discussions on organisms, evolution, and ecology in general. Even if everyone spoke the same language, discussing organisms would be nearly unfeasible without binomial nomenclature, especially since a single species might have hundreds of distinct colloquial names. 

Value of binomial nomenclature

The value of binomial nomenclature stems from the fact that it is essential for standardizing the names of living organisms. The naming of living organisms should be done in such a way that this particular organism is known all over the globe by the same name. It also assures that every scientific name is unique.

Codes of nomenclature

The multiple rulebooks that control biological taxonomic naming, each in their own large field of species, are referred to as codes of nomenclature and currently, there are six of them, as follows:

  • Animals – International Zoological Nomenclature Code (ICZN); 
  • Cultivated plants – International Code of Nomenclature for Plants Cultivated (ICNCP);
  • Plant associations – International Code of Phytosociological Nomenclature (ICPN);
  • Viruses – International Code of Virus Classification and Nomenclature (ICVCN);
  • Bacteria and Archaea – International Code of Nomenclature of Prokaryotes (ICNP) superseded the International Code of Nomenclature of Bacteria in 2008. (ICNB);
  • Algae, Fungi and Plants – International Code of Nomenclature for Algae, Fungi, and Plants (ICN) superseded the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN) and the previous International Rules of Botanical Nomenclature in July 2011. 

Other codes, such as Biocode (treat rationalization of the ICSU recognized Codes) and PhyloCode (basing the code on phylogenetic criteria), have been proposed.

Rules for Binomial Nomenclature

Every scientific name in binomial nomenclature is made up of two names, which are sometimes known as descriptors or epithets. The first word is a generic epithet that describes the genus of an animal, which is the descriptor. The second word is the specific epithet, which relates to the organism’s species.

The remaining binomial nomenclature criteria for writing scientific names of organisms are:

  • All creatures’ scientific names are typically Latin. As a result, they are written in italics. 
  • Handwritten names are underlined, whereas typed names are italicized. This is done to indicate that the used language is Latin. 
  • The genus name begins with an uppercase, and the species name begins with a lowercase letter.

Examples of binomial nomenclature

  • Dog – Cannis familiaris
  • Rabbit – Leporidae cuniculas
  • Elephant – Proboscidea elephantidae
  • Pig – Artiodactyla suidae
  • Human – Homo Sapiens
  • Dolphin – Delphinidae delphis
  • Horse – Eqqus caballus
  • Camel – Camelus camelidae
  • Cat – Felis catus
  • Deer – Artiodactyl cervidae
  • Potato – Solanium tuberosum
  • Onion – Allium cepa
  • Apple – Pyrus maleus
  • Banana – Musa paradiscium
  • Lemon – Citrus limonium
  • Maize – Zea mays
  • Orange – Citrus aurantium
  • Pineapple – Ananus sativus
  • Watermelon – Citrullus vulgaris
  • Wheat – Triticum aestivum
  • Carrot – Daucas carota

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