More About Animals
What is an Animal?
In order to be considered an animal, an organism must:
- be multi-cellular (have more than one cell in its body)
- be heterotrophic (an animal has to eat something to get its energy)
- have cells that form tissues, such as muscle, skin, and nervous tissue . . . An exception is sponges and corals! Did you know that sponges and corals are actually living animals?
How Do We Know Tell Animals Apart?
To keep track of millions of species of living organisms, scientists everywhere use a universal classification system, which separates organisms into categories. In the past, all living things were sorted into these categories based on how they looked. Today we organize animals, plants, bacteria, fungi, protists, and archaea (one-celled organisms) by comparing their genetics and evolutionary history. This entire system of categorizing living organisms is called taxonomy.
These are the categories we use: domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species. To give you an idea of how it works, let’s look at an example: the fox squirrel.
- Domain – Eukarya (this domain includes all organisms that have cells with membranes and a nucleus)
- Kingdom – Animalia (this kingdom includes all animals, both living and extinct)
- Phylum – Chordata (includes all animals with certain characteristics that I won’t go into here)
- Class – Mammalia (includes all mammals)
- Order – Rodentia (includes all rodents)
- Family – Sciuridae (includes tree squirrels, prairie dogs, ground squirrels, chipmunks, and marmots)
- Genus - Sciurus (includes the squirrel species with bushy tails)
- Species - Sciurus niger (this is the scientific name of the fox squirrel – no other species has this name!)
Read the Blog Posts!
You can access all of the interesting posts about animals through this link: Learn More!
Some Featured Posts:
My Entomology Collection: I took this class a few semesters ago, and, for this class, we were required to make our own insect collection. I have uploaded photos and information about some of my favorite insects in my collection. Here are links to the posts: Insect Collection Overview, Orthoptera, Hemiptera, Cicada, White-lined Sphinx Moth, Painted Lady Butterfly, Neuroptera, Coleoptera, Periodical Cicada Diorama Pics