Traditional way of classification
In the past, the absence or the presence of the notochord divided the animal kingdom into two groups. They were termed as non-chordates and chordates.
The non-chordates did not have a notochord. A notochord is like a rod which supports the body. They don’t possess pharyngeal gill slits. Some could have a solid nerve cord which is on the ventral side. It is generally paired. If they do have a heart, it is on the dorsal side of the organism. The non chordates are further classified into ten phyla. They are named as protozoa, proifera, coelentarata or cnidaria, platyhelminthes, aschelminthes, annelida, arthropoda, mollusca, echinodermata, and hemichordata.
The chordates have their body supported by the notochord. They also show either pharyngeal gill slits or lungs. They use them for respiration. The hollow nerve chord is on the dorsal side of the body. The heart of such organisms is on the ventral side of their body. All chordate animals are under one phylum called chordates. The phylum chordate is further divided into three subphyla. They are named as urochordata, cephalochordata, and vertebrata. There are five classes under the subphylum vertebrata. They are named as pisces, amphibia, reptilia, aves, and mammalia.
Animals are present all over the world. Different scientists study animals from different parts of the world. Animals can have local names or different translation of names in different languages. All these can cause confusion in the name of the animal, especially when they look similar or have types of the same species. In order to prevent such confusions and miscommunications, there are scientific names given to each animal. They are mosty Latin names and are used all over the world, universally. The classification for this was given by Carl Linnaeus.
The first division is the Kingdom. All animals belong to the kingdom Animala. The next division is called Phylum. There are almost 40 phyla and of them 10 are major phyla. Some phyla also have larger divisions called subphylum. The third level or division is called Class. The fourth level is Order. They are small groups under class. The next level is called the Family. After family, comes the next division of Genus. There could be as few as two animals under a genus. They are often very closely related. The next and last level is called Species. Every animal of the same species can breed with each other. Sometimes, the domain is also mentioned in the start. This means the cell type is either eukaryotic or prokaryotic cells.
When the scientific name of an animal is mentioned, only the genus and species of it is mentioned. The genus name starts with a capital letter and the species name starts with a small letter. If the name is typed, the letters are italicized and if the name is written by hand, the words are underlined. Some examples are mentioned below so as to understand this better.
The classification of the great white shark would be
Hence, its scientific name would be Carcharodon carcharias.
If the classification of the American black bear would be
Hence, its scientific name would be Ursus americanus.
Currently, Robert Whittaker’s classification system is used for the study of animals. There are five kingdoms, from which one is Animalia which includes all animals. It has different criteria for classification of animals.
Grades of organisation:
The unicellular animals perform all functions within one cell. They have protoplasmic grade organization. The unicellular animals which don’t have proper tissue formation like poriferans, are called cellular grade organization. Cnidarian animals have tissues which perform all functions. They are called cell tissue grade organization. When there are organs formed from tissues, they show tissue organ grade organization. Flat worms are such animals. They have some organs, but they are not completely formed. Animals which have proper organs and organ systems are classified as organ system grade organization. Humans fall under this category.
If a body is divided by the imaginary axis at the centre, and it produces unequal halves, they are called asymmetrical bodies. Ameoba is a classic example of such bodies. An organism that has radial symmetry can be divided in different planes and still gives equal two halves. Star fishes for example. If there is only one plane with which the animal can be divded to obtain two equals halves, they are called bilateral symmetrical animals.
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