HOW DO WE CLASSIFY BIRDS?

Bird Watching (UK) - - Meet The Family -

So, what is taxonomy, ex­actly? Put sim­ply, it’s the study of the clas­si­fi­ca­tion and sci­en­tific nam­ing of liv­ing things, and taxa in­clude large units, such as king­doms and fam­i­lies, and smaller ones such as or­ders, gen­era, species and sub­species. In a ‘tax­o­nomic’ or ‘sys­tem­atic’ list of birds, species are placed in a lin­ear se­quence ac­cord­ing to how long ago they are thought to have evolved, old­est first. Re­lated taxa are grouped to­gether. Sci­en­tists are con­stantly un­cov­er­ing new re­la­tion­ships be­tween taxa, so some of our long-held be­liefs about the re­la­tion­ships be­tween dif­fer­ent species have to be rethought. The main rea­son has been the in­tro­duc­tion of molec­u­lar taxonomy, typ­i­cally us­ing DNA, to re­place the old phe­netic ap­proach (based on ob­serv­able traits). An ini­tial re­order­ing of birds in the 1990s, us­ing DNA, is grad­u­ally be­ing re­vised us­ing more and more so­phis­ti­cated tech­niques.

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