Basics of Biology

Classification of Life

Until recently, what were some ways to classify living organisms?

Like many things in science, a certain subject cannot always be explained one way—and the classification of living organisms is no exception. Until about the mid-1990s, the following represented one of the most commonly used classifications of organisms and their respective characteristics (it is still used in some literature):

Kingdom

Cell Type

Characteristics

Monera* (Bacterial and Archaean Kingdoms)

Prokaryotic

Single cells lacking distinct nuclei and other membranous organelles

Protista

Eukaryotic

Mainly unicellular or simple multicellular, some containing chloroplasts. Includes protozoa, algae, and slime molds

Fungi

Eukaryotic

Single-celled or multicellular, yeasts, not capable of photosynthesis

Plantae

Eukaryotic

Multicellular organisms with chloroplasts capable of photosynthesis

Animalia

Eukaryotic

Multicellular organisms, many with complex organ systems

*This division name is no longer in use.



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