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Definition

Taxonomic Key: is a device used by biologists for identifying unknown organisms. Keys are constructed so that the user is presented with a series of choices about the characteristics of the unknown organisms; by making the correct choice at each step of the key, the user is ultimately led to the identity of a specimen.

Taxonomic comes from taxon meaning a category or group, such as a phylum, order, family, genus, or species.

Hawaiian Translation:Kalaikapa Inoa Ha‘iloa‘a


Example

taxonomic key

Aristotle was one of the great thinkers of his time. One of his achievements was to outline a scientific classification of animals.   He observed many animals to find features by which to classify them.  
This figure is a taxonomic key which shows animals classified by the characteristics determined by Aristotle.

A detailed discussion of taxonomic keys can be found at: http://www.uprm.edu/biology/profs/betancourtc/taxonomia3.htm


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