How many species did Carl Linnaeus classify?

How many species did Carl Linnaeus classify?

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

How many species did Carl Linnaeus (senior) classify?

More than 13,000.

Plants: >9,000 names. In Systema Naturae 10th edition, commonly taken as the starting point of modern taxonomy, Linnaeus is reported to have published around 6,000 plant names (I haven't counted, but Müller-Wille gives 5,900 and Stearn says "almost 6,000". The Wikipedia figure of 7,700 may come from a different edition of Systema Naturae).

However, that's just SN10. Luckily, a wonderful source has compiled the names from all of Linnaeus's work: The Linnaean Plant Name Typification Project of the Natural History Museum says that Linnaeus published more than 9,000 valid plant names in his life (names that are still valid under current nomenclatural conventions), and they have many of them in a searchable database with references to where Linnaeus published them.

Animals: >4,200 names. For SN10, different authors give 4,236 or 4,378 animal names. Stearn says "nearly 4,400", so perhaps he too was unsure. The total number Linnaues described in his life is probably higher, as he did write separate zoological publications like Fauna Svevica, but I couldn't find a source like the project bringing together all of his animal names.

  • Müller-Wille S. 2006. Linnaeus' herbarium cabinet: a piece of furniture and its function. Endeavour 30: 60-64.

  • Stearn WT. 1959. The Background of Linnaeus's Contributions to the Nomenclature and Methods of Systematic Biology.)

Indeed this is a bit of interesting history. Linnaeus was not a modest man, but he was also a prodigious contributor to biology. He made many editions of his two major works Species Plantarum (1753) and Systema Naturae published in 1759. Systema Naturae covered both plants and animals and had 12 editions, eventually with 3 volumes in several parts.

Linnaeus' sampling of species was not broad - he traveled to Lapland France, and England. His main experience was in botany and was able to look at samples in gardens which were a popular pursuit amongst wealthy hobbyists of the day and visited botanists in England and had samples from other continents. He had heard about chimpanzees, but it doesn't seem as if he ever saw one.

Wikipedia gives a final count of nearly 10,000 species including over 7000 plants, from the entries in his works. Linnaeus felt that there would be very few more to be discovered; he estimated 10,000 species of plants which turned out to be completely wrong. The Encyclopedia of Life has 1,316,775 entries today. This was probably perpetuated by the influence of Aristotelian thought, which persisted through Darwin's life, that species were only the result a higher reality creating animals attuned to a local climate and geography and so the same species would in the mountains of Scandinavia would be the same as the alpine regions of India say. But even Aristotelianism, which stood for over a millenium the 19th Century and Darwin's work, was probably more the result of confirmation bias than any real proof.

Carolus Linnaeus

Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.

Carolus Linnaeus, also called Carl Linnaeus, Swedish Carl von Linné, (born May 23, 1707, Råshult, Småland, Sweden—died January 10, 1778, Uppsala), Swedish naturalist and explorer who was the first to frame principles for defining natural genera and species of organisms and to create a uniform system for naming them (binomial nomenclature).

What is Carolus Linnaeus known for?

Swedish naturalist and explorer Carolus Linnaeus was the first to frame principles for defining natural genera and species of organisms and to create a uniform system for naming them, known as binomial nomenclature.

When was Carolus Linnaeus born?

Carolus Linnaeus was born on May 23, 1707, in Råshult, Småland, Sweden.

Where did Carolus Linnaeus study?

Carolus Linnaeus’s early interest in botany was channeled by a teacher at Växjö gymnasium, in Kronoberg, southern Sweden. In 1727 Linnaeus began his studies in medicine at Lund University but transferred to Uppsala University in 1728.

How Biology Pioneer Carl Linnaeus Once Tried To Classify Minerals

18th Century Swedish physician, botanist and zoologist Carl von Linné or Carl Linnaeus is today famous as father of modern biology, having introduced the binomial nomenclature wherein every organism is put on a distinct place in a hierarchical classification scheme (meaning that a species is included with other similar species in a genus, genus in an order and so on).

However, he was also interested in mineralogy and tried to include minerals in his classifications. Oddly enough, fossils, which are now recognized as the petrified remains of ancient organisms, were of no interest to Linné (he considered them just as peculiar shaped rocks).

During his early travels in Sweden and Norway, Linné became interested in mining activities. During his time, mineral identification and classification was quite a messy thing. Only the most common minerals, like feldspar and quartz, and minerals of some economic value like ore minerals or gemstones were distinguished. Because mineral identification often relied on easy to observe properties, like color, there was a lot of confusion.

Different minerals like ruby or garnet were classified based on the same red color as one mineral and the variable colored quartz-varieties (despite the observed variability all with the same chemical composition) were all seen as very different minerals. This confusion also caused economic problems - after all, how do you prospect if nobody was sure what minerals could be found underground?

Linné had classified plants (and later animals) based on their sexual reproduction organs, such the number of stamens inside a flower (the male organs) and the number of carpels (the female organs). Curiously, or maybe consequently, he adopted the idea of sexual reproduction for the classification of minerals.

Of course minerals don't mate or have genitals, but Linné imagined that minerals formed by the mixing of various salty fluids, acting as sort of male parts, with different kinds of earth, acting as sort of female parts. A more practical approach included minerals classifying by the shape of the crystal, number of crystal faces and the observed chemical behavior. However, this classification scheme could not be adopted to minerals with crystals too small to be observed with a naked eye (like chalcedony).

For ore minerals or minerals found in undifferentiated masses, Linné proposed that their behavior towards fire would be a useful classification property. So if the mineral could be fused, crumbled or remained unaffected by heat, that could be a way to distinguish it. As many ore minerals have to be fused to gain the metal, this idea was of practical use.

In contrast to his biological classification, Linné's mineralogical classification never really became popular.

Today, minerals are defined by mineralogical composition and regular crystalline structure. Linné lacked the technology to accurately identify the chemical composition of a given mineral, and also lacked the knowledge of crystals. That's because knowledge of the physical laws that govern their symmetry was still too limited to propose a reliable mineral and rock classification. It's also important to note that minerals that are distinct chemically can nevertheless display the same crystalline shape - compounding Linné ' s problem .

It wasn't until the beginning of the 19th century that the first modern mineral classification books were published, such as geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner's Short classification and description of the various rock types and The genetic-geological classification and an attempt to introduce a mineral-system based on superficial properties by mineralogist Carl Friedrich Christian Mohs (for whom the famous scale of mineral hardness is named).

Humans classified

Subspecies or varieties?

Systema naturae was edited 12 times in Linnaeus’ life. As each edition was amended, corrected and augmented, Systema naturae grew in scope and content. For the first 9 editions (1735-1756), Linnaeus’ classification of man remained stable, with the human species divided into four types, or “varieties”, as he called them in Latin.

Europaeus albus: European white

Americanus rubescens: American reddish

Asiaticus fuscus: Asian tawny

Africanus niger: African black

The word that Linnaeus uses to denote the taxon below the species, is ‘ varieties of man’: ‘Homo variat’ (literally 'Man varies'). As far as is known, Linnaeus never used the word race, in reference to humans or any other organisms. The term ‘variety’ is significant: while ‘subspecies’ would distinguish stable types, ‘varieties’ do not.

In a botanical tract entitled Critica botanica (1737), Linnaeus further expressed views about the human species and its variations, which for him were not stable and varied according to climate and environment:

[God] created one human, as the Holy Scripture teaches but if the slightest trait [difference] was sufficient, there would easily stick out thousands of different species of man: they display, namely, white, red, black and grey hair white, rosy, tawny and black faces straight, stubby, crooked, flattened, and aquiline noses among them we find giants and pygmies, fat and skinny people, erect, humpy, brittle, and lame people etc. etc. But who with a sane mind would be so frivolous as to call these distinct species? [3]

Geographical variations

Linnaeus’ division into four varieties of man corresponded to the then known four continents of the world: Europe, America, Asia and Africa. This division according to the four corners of the world is one that came back in a variety of ways in Linnaeus’ writings on plants and commodities (coffee, tea, beer and chocolate also represented the four continents, for instance).

This emphasis on geography has been stressed by recent scholars: Müller-Wille has argued that Linnaeus did not present ‘human races as distinct types. In fact, Linnaeus shared contemporary views that skin-color – the chief criterion of distinction employed in the Systema naturae – was largely a product of climate, and hence as variable as other “accidental” bodily characteristics of humans, such as stature or weight’.[4]

Similarly, Ezra Tawil writes ‘If we are careful to situate Linnaean thought in the context of eighteenth-century theories of difference, we immediately recognise that Linnaeus’ four primary taxonomic categories (&hellip) are not functions of biology or morphology, but rather of geography.’[5]

Further classification

Sometime in the 1750s, Linnaeus started revising his classification of humans, to add physical and moral attributes to geography and skin colour. Further analysis of Linnaeus’ works, both printed and manuscripts (including his correspondence) should be undertaken to understand why he took the step of deepening the classification of humans, in ways which would have such unfortunate long lasting consequences.

For instance, a manuscript draft entitled ‘Anthropomorpha’, dating from between 1748 and 1758, contains numerous reworked pages of possibly lecture notes that go beyond simply stating the locality and skin colour.[6] The amendments and crossing outs indicate that this was a work in progress. The manuscript also includes extracts of other works that Linnaeus was reading on the subject, and which may have influenced some of his classification, such as Pierre Louis Maupertuis, but also older works such as Pliny.

Linnaeus' manuscript 'Anthorpomorpha' contains many iterations of the description of Homo sapiens. Here, folio 2.

The result of this expansion of the classification of man was the 1758 10th edition of Systema naturae, which became the basis for scientific racism. To the four continents and the four varieties of humans, Linnaeus added the four temperaments, or humours. According to medieval medical doctrine, which still had currency in the 18 th century, the four humours were thought to be sanguine (blood), choleric (yellow bile), melancholic (black bile), and phlegmatic (phlegm). Their composition within the body was considered to determine a patient's personality and health concerns. By adding these, and other moral attributes, he departed from the purely geographic and environmental factors.

Whereas the previous editions classified man within four lines, the 10 th edition devotes 5 pages to the genus Homo. Extensive footnotes cover half the page.

Homo sapiens in Systema naturae 10th edition, 1758

The four varieties have become six, and Linnaeus added notes on different lines describing the following attributes:

  1. Skin colour, medical temperament (corresponding to the four medieval humours), and body posture
  2. Physical traits relating to hair colour and form, eye colour, and distinctive facial traits
  3. Behaviour
  4. Manner of clothing
  5. Form of government.

Leaving aside the first variety of wild children and youngsters (Ferus) and the last variety of Monstrosus (see below the table), the resulting classification thus looks like this:

AmericanusRed, choleric and straightStraight, black and thick hair gaping nostrils [freckled] face beardless chinUnyielding, cheerful, freePaints himself in a maze of red linesGoverned by customary right
EuropaeusWhite, sanguine, muscularPlenty of yellow hair blue eyesLight, wise, inventorProtected by tight clothingGoverned by rites
AsiaticusSallow, melancholic, stiffBlackish hair, dark eyesStern, haughty, greedyProtected by loose garmentsGoverned by opinions
AfricanusBlack, phlegmatic, lazyDark hair, with many twisting braids silky skin flat nose swollen lips Women [with] elongated labia breasts lactating profusely.Sly, sluggish, neglectfulAnoints himself with fatGoverned by choice [caprice]

As Müller-Wille has remarked: ‘It cannot be emphasized enough how phantastic Linnaeus’s color scheme actually is, if judged in terms of the humoral doctrine: white is red (sanguine), black is white (phlegmatic), yellow is black (melancholic), and red is yellow (choleric).’[7]

The fifth variety of ‘monstrous’ humans included groups which were allegedly shaped by their environment: the Alpini, living high in the mountains, for instance, are ‘small, agile and shy’. In the ‘monstruous’ variety, Linnaeus also placed the Hottentots who according to him were less fertile, owing to the fact that they had only one testicle (hence the name Monorchides), and European girls with artificially constricted waists (‘Juncae puellae abdomine attenuato’).

Linnaeus continuously revised his work, and his copies of Systema naturae were interleaved so that he could insert amendments and corrections for the next edition. The entry for Homo sapiens in his copy of 1758 Systema naturae shows some of the corrections that he meant to implement in the next edition. One of the corrections which was introduced in the final, 12th edition from 1766 was the substitution of ‘cheerful’ (‘hilaris’) with ‘content’ (‘contentus’) in the description of Americanus.


The initial 1735 classification of man started with Europaeus, then went on with Americanus, Asiaticus and ended with Africanus.

A manuscript of Linnaeus’ son (also called Carl Linnaeus, the Younger), consisting of notes taken when Carl the Younger was following his father’s lectures in the mid-1750s as a young boy, shows how Linnaeus was teaching the classification of man to his students. In these lecture notes, Linnaeus started his lecture with Asiaticus, followed by Europaeus, Americanus and Africanus.[8]

Lecture notes taken by Linnaeus' son, also Carl Linnaeus (the Younger) on the genus Homo.

The same order can be found in the ‘Anthropomorpha’ manuscript described earlier, indicating that Linnaeus' hierarchy, if there was one, fluctuated in the years leading up to 1758.

By the 10 th edition of Systema naturae, Linnaeus switched the order in which the varieties appear yet again, and chose to place Americanus first, possibly influenced by ideas of the ‘noble savage’. One variety never varied in this hierarchy, however: Africanus consistently remained at the bottom of the list. Moreover, in all editions, Linnaeus’ description of Africanus was the longest, most detailed and physical, and also the most negative.



Linnaeus was born in the village of Råshult in Småland, Sweden, on 23 May 1707. He was the first child of Nicolaus (Nils) Ingemarsson (who later adopted the family name Linnaeus) and Christina Brodersonia. His siblings were Anna Maria Linnæa, Sofia Juliana Linnæa, Samuel Linnæus (who would eventually succeed their father as rector of Stenbrohult and write a manual on beekeeping), [10] [11] [12] and Emerentia Linnæa. [13] His father taught him Latin as a small child. [14]

One of a long line of peasants and priests, Nils was an amateur botanist, a Lutheran minister, and the curate of the small village of Stenbrohult in Småland. Christina was the daughter of the rector of Stenbrohult, Samuel Brodersonius. [15] : 376

A year after Linnaeus's birth, his grandfather Samuel Brodersonius died, and his father Nils became the rector of Stenbrohult. The family moved into the rectory from the curate's house. [16] [17]

Even in his early years, Linnaeus seemed to have a liking for plants, flowers in particular. Whenever he was upset, he was given a flower, which immediately calmed him. Nils spent much time in his garden and often showed flowers to Linnaeus and told him their names. Soon Linnaeus was given his own patch of earth where he could grow plants. [18]

Carl's father was the first in his ancestry to adopt a permanent surname. Before that, ancestors had used the patronymic naming system of Scandinavian countries: his father was named Ingemarsson after his father Ingemar Bengtsson. When Nils was admitted to the University of Lund, he had to take on a family name. He adopted the Latinate name Linnæus after a giant linden tree (or lime tree), lind in Swedish, that grew on the family homestead. [10] This name was spelled with the æ ligature. When Carl was born, he was named Carl Linnæus, with his father's family name. The son also always spelled it with the æ ligature, both in handwritten documents and in publications. [16] Carl's patronymic would have been Nilsson, as in Carl Nilsson Linnæus. [19]

Early education

Linnaeus's father began teaching him basic Latin, religion, and geography at an early age. [20] When Linnaeus was seven, Nils decided to hire a tutor for him. The parents picked Johan Telander, a son of a local yeoman. Linnaeus did not like him, writing in his autobiography that Telander "was better calculated to extinguish a child's talents than develop them". [21]

Two years after his tutoring had begun, he was sent to the Lower Grammar School at Växjö in 1717. [22] Linnaeus rarely studied, often going to the countryside to look for plants. At some point, his father went to visit him and, after hearing critical assessements by his preceptors, he decided to put the youth as an apprentice to some honest cobbler. [23] He reached the last year of the Lower School when he was fifteen, which was taught by the headmaster, Daniel Lannerus, who was interested in botany. Lannerus noticed Linnaeus's interest in botany and gave him the run of his garden.

He also introduced him to Johan Rothman, the state doctor of Småland and a teacher at Katedralskolan (a gymnasium) in Växjö. Also a botanist, Rothman broadened Linnaeus's interest in botany and helped him develop an interest in medicine. [24] [25] By the age of 17, Linnaeus had become well acquainted with the existing botanical literature. He remarks in his journal that he "read day and night, knowing like the back of my hand, Arvidh Månsson's Rydaholm Book of Herbs, Tillandz's Flora Åboensis, Palmberg's Serta Florea Suecana, Bromelii Chloros Gothica and Rudbeckii Hortus Upsaliensis". [26]

Linnaeus entered the Växjö Katedralskola in 1724, where he studied mainly Greek, Hebrew, theology and mathematics, a curriculum designed for boys preparing for the priesthood. [27] [28] In the last year at the gymnasium, Linnaeus's father visited to ask the professors how his son's studies were progressing to his dismay, most said that the boy would never become a scholar. Rothman believed otherwise, suggesting Linnaeus could have a future in medicine. The doctor offered to have Linnaeus live with his family in Växjö and to teach him physiology and botany. Nils accepted this offer. [29] [30]

Rothman showed Linnaeus that botany was a serious subject. He taught Linnaeus to classify plants according to Tournefort's system. Linnaeus was also taught about the sexual reproduction of plants, according to Sébastien Vaillant. [29] In 1727, Linnaeus, age 21, enrolled in Lund University in Skåne. [31] [32] He was registered as Carolus Linnæus, the Latin form of his full name, which he also used later for his Latin publications. [3]

Professor Kilian Stobæus, natural scientist, physician and historian, offered Linnaeus tutoring and lodging, as well as the use of his library, which included many books about botany. He also gave the student free admission to his lectures. [33] [34] In his spare time, Linnaeus explored the flora of Skåne, together with students sharing the same interests. [35]


In August 1728, Linnaeus decided to attend Uppsala University on the advice of Rothman, who believed it would be a better choice if Linnaeus wanted to study both medicine and botany. Rothman based this recommendation on the two professors who taught at the medical faculty at Uppsala: Olof Rudbeck the Younger and Lars Roberg. Although Rudbeck and Roberg had undoubtedly been good professors, by then they were older and not so interested in teaching. Rudbeck no longer gave public lectures, and had others stand in for him. The botany, zoology, pharmacology and anatomy lectures were not in their best state. [36] In Uppsala, Linnaeus met a new benefactor, Olof Celsius, who was a professor of theology and an amateur botanist. [37] He received Linnaeus into his home and allowed him use of his library, which was one of the richest botanical libraries in Sweden. [38]

In 1729, Linnaeus wrote a thesis, Praeludia Sponsaliorum Plantarum on plant sexual reproduction. This attracted the attention of Rudbeck in May 1730, he selected Linnaeus to give lectures at the University although the young man was only a second-year student. His lectures were popular, and Linnaeus often addressed an audience of 300 people. [39] In June, Linnaeus moved from Celsius's house to Rudbeck's to become the tutor of the three youngest of his 24 children. His friendship with Celsius did not wane and they continued their botanical expeditions. [40] Over that winter, Linnaeus began to doubt Tournefort's system of classification and decided to create one of his own. His plan was to divide the plants by the number of stamens and pistils. He began writing several books, which would later result in, for example, Genera Plantarum and Critica Botanica. He also produced a book on the plants grown in the Uppsala Botanical Garden, Adonis Uplandicus. [41]

Rudbeck's former assistant, Nils Rosén, returned to the University in March 1731 with a degree in medicine. Rosén started giving anatomy lectures and tried to take over Linnaeus's botany lectures, but Rudbeck prevented that. Until December, Rosén gave Linnaeus private tutoring in medicine. In December, Linnaeus had a "disagreement" with Rudbeck's wife and had to move out of his mentor's house his relationship with Rudbeck did not appear to suffer. That Christmas, Linnaeus returned home to Stenbrohult to visit his parents for the first time in about three years. His mother had disapproved of his failing to become a priest, but she was pleased to learn he was teaching at the University. [41] [42]

During a visit with his parents, Linnaeus told them about his plan to travel to Lapland Rudbeck had made the journey in 1695, but the detailed results of his exploration were lost in a fire seven years afterwards. Linnaeus's hope was to find new plants, animals and possibly valuable minerals. He was also curious about the customs of the native Sami people, reindeer-herding nomads who wandered Scandinavia's vast tundras. In April 1732, Linnaeus was awarded a grant from the Royal Society of Sciences in Uppsala for his journey. [43] [44]

Linnaeus began his expedition from Uppsala on 12 May 1732, just before he turned 25. [45] He travelled on foot and horse, bringing with him his journal, botanical and ornithological manuscripts and sheets of paper for pressing plants. Near Gävle he found great quantities of Campanula serpyllifolia, later known as Linnaea borealis, the twinflower that would become his favourite. [46] He sometimes dismounted on the way to examine a flower or rock [47] and was particularly interested in mosses and lichens, the latter a main part of the diet of the reindeer, a common and economically important animal in Lapland. [48]

Linnaeus travelled clockwise around the coast of the Gulf of Bothnia, making major inland incursions from Umeå, Luleå and Tornio. He returned from his six-month-long, over 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) expedition in October, having gathered and observed many plants, birds and rocks. [49] [50] [51] Although Lapland was a region with limited biodiversity, Linnaeus described about 100 previously unidentified plants. These became the basis of his book Flora Lapponica. [52] [53] However, on the expedition to Lapland, Linnaeus used Latin names to describe organisms because he had not yet developed the binomial system. [45]

In Flora Lapponica Linnaeus's ideas about nomenclature and classification were first used in a practical way, making this the first proto-modern Flora. [54] The account covered 534 species, used the Linnaean classification system and included, for the described species, geographical distribution and taxonomic notes. It was Augustin Pyramus de Candolle who attributed Linnaeus with Flora Lapponica as the first example in the botanical genre of Flora writing. Botanical historian E. L. Greene described Flora Lapponica as "the most classic and delightful" of Linnaeus's works. [54]

It was also during this expedition that Linnaeus had a flash of insight regarding the classification of mammals. Upon observing the lower jawbone of a horse at the side of a road he was travelling, Linnaeus remarked: "If I only knew how many teeth and of what kind every animal had, how many teats and where they were placed, I should perhaps be able to work out a perfectly natural system for the arrangement of all quadrupeds." [55]

In 1734, Linnaeus led a small group of students to Dalarna. Funded by the Governor of Dalarna, the expedition was to catalogue known natural resources and discover new ones, but also to gather intelligence on Norwegian mining activities at Røros. [51]


His relations with Nils Rosén having worsened, Linnaeus accepted an invitation from Claes Sohlberg, son of a mining inspector, to spend the Christmas holiday in Falun, where Linnaeus was permitted to visit the mines. [60]

In April 1735, at the suggestion of Sohlberg's father, Linnaeus and Sohlberg set out for the Dutch Republic, where Linnaeus intended to study medicine at the University of Harderwijk [61] while tutoring Sohlberg in exchange for an annual salary. At the time, it was common for Swedes to pursue doctoral degrees in the Netherlands, then a highly revered place to study natural history. [62]

On the way, the pair stopped in Hamburg, where they met the mayor, who proudly showed them a supposed wonder of nature in his possession: the taxidermied remains of a seven-headed hydra. Linnaeus quickly discovered the specimen was a fake cobbled together from the jaws and paws of weasels and the skins of snakes. The provenance of the hydra suggested to Linnaeus that it had been manufactured by monks to represent the Beast of Revelation. Even at the risk of incurring the mayor's wrath, Linnaeus made his observations public, dashing the mayor's dreams of selling the hydra for an enormous sum. Linnaeus and Sohlberg were forced to flee from Hamburg. [63] [64]

Linnaeus began working towards his degree as soon as he reached Harderwijk, a university known for awarding degrees in as little as a week. [65] He submitted a dissertation, written back in Sweden, entitled Dissertatio medica inauguralis in qua exhibetur hypothesis nova de febrium intermittentium causa, [note 3] in which he laid out his hypothesis that malaria arose only in areas with clay-rich soils. [66] Although he failed to identify the true source of disease transmission, (i.e., the Anopheles mosquito), [67] he did correctly predict that Artemisia annua (wormwood) would become a source of antimalarial medications. [66]

Within two weeks he had completed his oral and practical examinations and was awarded a doctoral degree. [63] [65]

That summer Linnaeus reunited with Peter Artedi, a friend from Uppsala with whom he had once made a pact that should either of the two predecease the other, the survivor would finish the decedent's work. Ten weeks later, Artedi drowned in the canals of Amsterdam, leaving behind an unfinished manuscript on the classification of fish. [68] [69]

Publishing of Systema Naturae

One of the first scientists Linnaeus met in the Netherlands was Johan Frederik Gronovius to whom Linnaeus showed one of the several manuscripts he had brought with him from Sweden. The manuscript described a new system for classifying plants. When Gronovius saw it, he was very impressed, and offered to help pay for the printing. With an additional monetary contribution by the Scottish doctor Isaac Lawson, the manuscript was published as Systema Naturae (1735). [70] [71]

Linnaeus became acquainted with one of the most respected physicians and botanists in the Netherlands, Herman Boerhaave, who tried to convince Linnaeus to make a career there. Boerhaave offered him a journey to South Africa and America, but Linnaeus declined, stating he would not stand the heat. Instead, Boerhaave convinced Linnaeus that he should visit the botanist Johannes Burman. After his visit, Burman, impressed with his guest's knowledge, decided Linnaeus should stay with him during the winter. During his stay, Linnaeus helped Burman with his Thesaurus Zeylanicus. Burman also helped Linnaeus with the books on which he was working: Fundamenta Botanica and Bibliotheca Botanica. [72]

George Clifford, Philip Miller, and Johann Jacob Dillenius

In August 1735, during Linnaeus's stay with Burman, he met George Clifford III, a director of the Dutch East India Company and the owner of a rich botanical garden at the estate of Hartekamp in Heemstede. Clifford was very impressed with Linnaeus's ability to classify plants, and invited him to become his physician and superintendent of his garden. Linnaeus had already agreed to stay with Burman over the winter, and could thus not accept immediately. However, Clifford offered to compensate Burman by offering him a copy of Sir Hans Sloane's Natural History of Jamaica, a rare book, if he let Linnaeus stay with him, and Burman accepted. [73] [74] On 24 September 1735, Linnaeus moved to Hartekamp to become personal physician to Clifford, and curator of Clifford's herbarium. He was paid 1,000 florins a year, with free board and lodging. Though the agreement was only for a winter of that year, Linnaeus practically stayed there until 1738. [75] It was here that he wrote a book Hortus Cliffortianus, in the preface of which he described his experience as "the happiest time of my life". (A portion of Hartekamp was declared as public garden in April 1956 by the Heemstede local authority, and was named "Linnaeushof". [76] It eventually became, as it is claimed, the biggest playground in Europe. [77] )

In July 1736, Linnaeus travelled to England, at Clifford's expense. [78] He went to London to visit Sir Hans Sloane, a collector of natural history, and to see his cabinet, [79] as well as to visit the Chelsea Physic Garden and its keeper, Philip Miller. He taught Miller about his new system of subdividing plants, as described in Systema Naturae. Miller was in fact reluctant to use the new binomial nomenclature, preferring the classifications of Joseph Pitton de Tournefort and John Ray at first. Linnaeus, nevertheless, applauded Miller's Gardeners Dictionary, [80] The conservative Scot actually retained in his dictionary a number of pre-Linnaean binomial signifiers discarded by Linnaeus but which have been retained by modern botanists. He only fully changed to the Linnaean system in the edition of The Gardeners Dictionary of 1768. Miller ultimately was impressed, and from then on started to arrange the garden according to Linnaeus's system. [81]

Linnaeus also travelled to Oxford University to visit the botanist Johann Jacob Dillenius. He failed to make Dillenius publicly fully accept his new classification system, though the two men remained in correspondence for many years afterwards. Linnaeus dedicated his Critica botanica to him, as "opus botanicum quo absolutius mundus non-vidit". Linnaeus would later name a genus of tropical tree Dillenia in his honour. He then returned to Hartekamp, bringing with him many specimens of rare plants. [82] The next year, he published Genera Plantarum, in which he described 935 genera of plants, and shortly thereafter he supplemented it with Corollarium Generum Plantarum, with another sixty (sexaginta) genera. [83]

His work at Hartekamp led to another book, Hortus Cliffortianus, a catalogue of the botanical holdings in the herbarium and botanical garden of Hartekamp. He wrote it in nine months (completed in July 1737), but it was not published until 1738. [72] It contains the first use of the name Nepenthes, which Linnaeus used to describe a genus of pitcher plants. [84] [note 4]

Linnaeus stayed with Clifford at Hartekamp until 18 October 1737 (new style), when he left the house to return to Sweden. Illness and the kindness of Dutch friends obliged him to stay some months longer in Holland. In May 1738, he set out for Sweden again. On the way home, he stayed in Paris for about a month, visiting botanists such as Antoine de Jussieu. After his return, Linnaeus never left Sweden again. [85] [86]

When Linnaeus returned to Sweden on 28 June 1738, he went to Falun, where he entered into an engagement to Sara Elisabeth Moræa. Three months later, he moved to Stockholm to find employment as a physician, and thus to make it possible to support a family. [87] [88] Once again, Linnaeus found a patron he became acquainted with Count Carl Gustav Tessin, who helped him get work as a physician at the Admiralty. [89] [90] During this time in Stockholm, Linnaeus helped found the Royal Swedish Academy of Science he became the first Praeses of the academy by drawing of lots. [91]

Because his finances had improved and were now sufficient to support a family, he received permission to marry his fiancée, Sara Elisabeth Moræa. Their wedding was held 26 June 1739. Seventeen months later, Sara gave birth to their first son, Carl. Two years later, a daughter, Elisabeth Christina, was born, and the subsequent year Sara gave birth to Sara Magdalena, who died when 15 days old. Sara and Linnaeus would later have four other children: Lovisa, Sara Christina, Johannes and Sophia. [87] [92]

In May 1741, Linnaeus was appointed Professor of Medicine at Uppsala University, first with responsibility for medicine-related matters. Soon, he changed place with the other Professor of Medicine, Nils Rosén, and thus was responsible for the Botanical Garden (which he would thoroughly reconstruct and expand), botany and natural history, instead. In October that same year, his wife and nine-month-old son followed him to live in Uppsala. [93] : 49–50

Öland and Gotland

Ten days after he was appointed Professor, he undertook an expedition to the island provinces of Öland and Gotland with six students from the university, to look for plants useful in medicine. First, they travelled to Öland and stayed there until 21 June, when they sailed to Visby in Gotland. Linnaeus and the students stayed on Gotland for about a month, and then returned to Uppsala. During this expedition, they found 100 previously unrecorded plants. The observations from the expedition were later published in Öländska och Gothländska Resa, written in Swedish. Like Flora Lapponica, it contained both zoological and botanical observations, as well as observations concerning the culture in Öland and Gotland. [94] [95]

During the summer of 1745, Linnaeus published two more books: Flora Suecica and Fauna Suecica. Flora Suecica was a strictly botanical book, while Fauna Suecica was zoological. [87] [96] Anders Celsius had created the temperature scale named after him in 1742. Celsius's scale was inverted compared to today, the boiling point at 0 °C and freezing point at 100 °C. In 1745, Linnaeus inverted the scale to its present standard. [97]


In the summer of 1746, Linnaeus was once again commissioned by the Government to carry out an expedition, this time to the Swedish province of Västergötland. He set out from Uppsala on 12 June and returned on 11 August. On the expedition his primary companion was Erik Gustaf Lidbeck, a student who had accompanied him on his previous journey. Linnaeus described his findings from the expedition in the book Wästgöta-Resa, published the next year. [94] [98] After he returned from the journey, the Government decided Linnaeus should take on another expedition to the southernmost province Scania. This journey was postponed, as Linnaeus felt too busy. [87]

In 1747, Linnaeus was given the title archiater, or chief physician, by the Swedish king Adolf Frederick—a mark of great respect. [99] The same year he was elected member of the Academy of Sciences in Berlin. [100]


In the spring of 1749, Linnaeus could finally journey to Scania, again commissioned by the Government. With him he brought his student, Olof Söderberg. On the way to Scania, he made his last visit to his brothers and sisters in Stenbrohult since his father had died the previous year. The expedition was similar to the previous journeys in most aspects, but this time he was also ordered to find the best place to grow walnut and Swedish whitebeam trees these trees were used by the military to make rifles. The journey was successful, and Linnaeus's observations were published the next year in Skånska Resa. [101] [102]

Rector of Uppsala University

In 1750, Linnaeus became rector of Uppsala University, starting a period where natural sciences were esteemed. [87] Perhaps the most important contribution he made during his time at Uppsala was to teach many of his students travelled to various places in the world to collect botanical samples. Linnaeus called the best of these students his "apostles". [93] : 56–57 His lectures were normally very popular and were often held in the Botanical Garden. He tried to teach the students to think for themselves and not trust anybody, not even him. Even more popular than the lectures were the botanical excursions made every Saturday during summer, where Linnaeus and his students explored the flora and fauna in the vicinity of Uppsala. [103]

Philosophia Botanica

Linnaeus published Philosophia Botanica in 1751. [104] The book contained a complete survey of the taxonomy system he had been using in his earlier works. It also contained information of how to keep a journal on travels and how to maintain a botanical garden. [105]

Nutrix Noverca

During Linnaeus's time it was normal for upper class women to have wet nurses for their babies. Linnaeus joined an ongoing campaign to end this practice in Sweden and promote breast-feeding by mothers. In 1752 Linnaeus published a thesis along with Frederick Lindberg, a physician student, [106] based on their experiences. [107] In the tradition of the period, this dissertation was essentially an idea of the presiding reviewer (prases) expounded upon by the student. Linnaeus's dissertation was translated into French by J.E. Gilibert in 1770 as La Nourrice marâtre, ou Dissertation sur les suites funestes du nourrisage mercénaire. Linnaeus suggested that children might absorb the personality of their wet nurse through the milk. He admired the child care practices of the Lapps [108] and pointed out how healthy their babies were compared to those of Europeans who employed wet nurses. He compared the behaviour of wild animals and pointed out how none of them denied their newborns their breastmilk. [108] It is thought that his activism played a role in his choice of the term Mammalia for the class of organisms. [109]

Species Plantarum

Linnaeus published Species Plantarum, the work which is now internationally accepted as the starting point of modern botanical nomenclature, in 1753. [110] The first volume was issued on 24 May, the second volume followed on 16 August of the same year. [note 5] [112] The book contained 1,200 pages and was published in two volumes it described over 7,300 species. [93] : 47 [113] The same year the king dubbed him knight of the Order of the Polar Star, the first civilian in Sweden to become a knight in this order. He was then seldom seen not wearing the order's insignia. [114]


Linnaeus felt Uppsala was too noisy and unhealthy, so he bought two farms in 1758: Hammarby and Sävja. The next year, he bought a neighbouring farm, Edeby. He spent the summers with his family at Hammarby initially it only had a small one-storey house, but in 1762 a new, larger main building was added. [102] [115] In Hammarby, Linnaeus made a garden where he could grow plants that could not be grown in the Botanical Garden in Uppsala. He began constructing a museum on a hill behind Hammarby in 1766, where he moved his library and collection of plants. A fire that destroyed about one third of Uppsala and had threatened his residence there necessitated the move. [116]

Since the initial release of Systema Naturae in 1735, the book had been expanded and reprinted several times the tenth edition was released in 1758. This edition established itself as the starting point for zoological nomenclature, the equivalent of Species Plantarum. [93] : 47 [117]

The Swedish King Adolf Frederick granted Linnaeus nobility in 1757, but he was not ennobled until 1761. With his ennoblement, he took the name Carl von Linné (Latinised as Carolus a Linné), 'Linné' being a shortened and gallicised version of 'Linnæus', and the German nobiliary particle 'von' signifying his ennoblement. [3] The noble family's coat of arms prominently features a twinflower, one of Linnaeus's favourite plants it was given the scientific name Linnaea borealis in his honour by Gronovius. The shield in the coat of arms is divided into thirds: red, black and green for the three kingdoms of nature (animal, mineral and vegetable) in Linnaean classification in the centre is an egg "to denote Nature, which is continued and perpetuated in ovo." At the bottom is a phrase in Latin, borrowed from the Aeneid, which reads "Famam extendere factis": we extend our fame by our deeds. [93] : 62 [118] [119] Linnaeus inscribed this personal motto in books that were gifted to him by friends. [120]

After his ennoblement, Linnaeus continued teaching and writing. His reputation had spread over the world, and he corresponded with many different people. For example, Catherine II of Russia sent him seeds from her country. [121] He also corresponded with Giovanni Antonio Scopoli, "the Linnaeus of the Austrian Empire", who was a doctor and a botanist in Idrija, Duchy of Carniola (nowadays Slovenia). [122] Scopoli communicated all of his research, findings, and descriptions (for example of the olm and the dormouse, two little animals hitherto unknown to Linnaeus). Linnaeus greatly respected Scopoli and showed great interest in his work. He named a solanaceous genus, Scopolia, the source of scopolamine, after him, but because of the great distance between them, they never met. [123] [124]

Linnaeus was relieved of his duties in the Royal Swedish Academy of Science in 1763, but continued his work there as usual for more than ten years after. [87] In 1769 he was elected to the American Philosophical Society for his work. [125] He stepped down as rector at Uppsala University in December 1772, mostly due to his declining health. [86] [126]

Linnaeus's last years were troubled by illness. He had suffered from a disease called the Uppsala fever in 1764, but survived thanks to the care of Rosén. He developed sciatica in 1773, and the next year, he had a stroke which partially paralysed him. [127] He suffered a second stroke in 1776, losing the use of his right side and leaving him bereft of his memory while still able to admire his own writings, he could not recognise himself as their author. [128] [129]

In December 1777, he had another stroke which greatly weakened him, and eventually led to his death on 10 January 1778 in Hammarby. [93] : 63 [126] Despite his desire to be buried in Hammarby, he was buried in Uppsala Cathedral on 22 January. [130] [131]

His library and collections were left to his widow Sara and their children. Joseph Banks, an eminent botanist, wished to purchase the collection, but his son Carl refused the offer and instead moved the collection to Uppsala. In 1783 Carl died and Sara inherited the collection, having outlived both her husband and son. She tried to sell it to Banks, but he was no longer interested instead an acquaintance of his agreed to buy the collection. The acquaintance was a 24-year-old medical student, James Edward Smith, who bought the whole collection: 14,000 plants, 3,198 insects, 1,564 shells, about 3,000 letters and 1,600 books. Smith founded the Linnean Society of London five years later. [131] [132]

The von Linné name ended with his son Carl, who never married. [6] His other son, Johannes, had died aged 3. [133] There are over two hundred descendants of Linnaeus through two of his daughters. [6]

During Linnaeus's time as Professor and Rector of Uppsala University, he taught many devoted students, 17 of whom he called "apostles". They were the most promising, most committed students, and all of them made botanical expeditions to various places in the world, often with his help. The amount of this help varied sometimes he used his influence as Rector to grant his apostles a scholarship or a place on an expedition. [134] To most of the apostles he gave instructions of what to look for on their journeys. Abroad, the apostles collected and organised new plants, animals and minerals according to Linnaeus's system. Most of them also gave some of their collection to Linnaeus when their journey was finished. [135] Thanks to these students, the Linnaean system of taxonomy spread through the world without Linnaeus ever having to travel outside Sweden after his return from Holland. [136] The British botanist William T. Stearn notes, without Linnaeus's new system, it would not have been possible for the apostles to collect and organise so many new specimens. [137] Many of the apostles died during their expeditions.

Early expeditions

Christopher Tärnström, the first apostle and a 43-year-old pastor with a wife and children, made his journey in 1746. He boarded a Swedish East India Company ship headed for China. Tärnström never reached his destination, dying of a tropical fever on Côn Sơn Island the same year. Tärnström's widow blamed Linnaeus for making her children fatherless, causing Linnaeus to prefer sending out younger, unmarried students after Tärnström. [138] Six other apostles later died on their expeditions, including Pehr Forsskål and Pehr Löfling. [137]

Two years after Tärnström's expedition, Finnish-born Pehr Kalm set out as the second apostle to North America. There he spent two-and-a-half years studying the flora and fauna of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Canada. Linnaeus was overjoyed when Kalm returned, bringing back with him many pressed flowers and seeds. At least 90 of the 700 North American species described in Species Plantarum had been brought back by Kalm. [139]

Cook expeditions and Japan

Daniel Solander was living in Linnaeus's house during his time as a student in Uppsala. Linnaeus was very fond of him, promising Solander his eldest daughter's hand in marriage. On Linnaeus's recommendation, Solander travelled to England in 1760, where he met the English botanist Joseph Banks. With Banks, Solander joined James Cook on his expedition to Oceania on the Endeavour in 1768–71. [140] [141] Solander was not the only apostle to journey with James Cook Anders Sparrman followed on the Resolution in 1772–75 bound for, among other places, Oceania and South America. Sparrman made many other expeditions, one of them to South Africa. [142]

Perhaps the most famous and successful apostle was Carl Peter Thunberg, who embarked on a nine-year expedition in 1770. He stayed in South Africa for three years, then travelled to Japan. All foreigners in Japan were forced to stay on the island of Dejima outside Nagasaki, so it was thus hard for Thunberg to study the flora. He did, however, manage to persuade some of the translators to bring him different plants, and he also found plants in the gardens of Dejima. He returned to Sweden in 1779, one year after Linnaeus's death. [143]

Systema Naturae

The first edition of Systema Naturae was printed in the Netherlands in 1735. It was a twelve-page work. [144] By the time it reached its 10th edition in 1758, it classified 4,400 species of animals and 7,700 species of plants. People from all over the world sent their specimens to Linnaeus to be included. By the time he started work on the 12th edition, Linnaeus needed a new invention—the index card—to track classifications. [145]

In Systema Naturae, the unwieldy names mostly used at the time, such as "Physalis annua ramosissima, ramis angulosis glabris, foliis dentato-serratis", were supplemented with concise and now familiar "binomials", composed of the generic name, followed by a specific epithet—in the case given, Physalis angulata. These binomials could serve as a label to refer to the species. Higher taxa were constructed and arranged in a simple and orderly manner. Although the system, now known as binomial nomenclature, was partially developed by the Bauhin brothers (see Gaspard Bauhin and Johann Bauhin) almost 200 years earlier, [146] Linnaeus was the first to use it consistently throughout the work, including in monospecific genera, and may be said to have popularised it within the scientific community.

After the decline in Linnaeus's health in the early 1770s, publication of editions of Systema Naturae went in two different directions. Another Swedish scientist, Johan Andreas Murray issued the Regnum Vegetabile section separately in 1774 as the Systema Vegetabilium, rather confusingly labelled the 13th edition. [147] Meanwhile, a 13th edition of the entire Systema appeared in parts between 1788 and 1793. It was through the Systema Vegetabilium that Linnaeus's work became widely known in England, following its translation from the Latin by the Lichfield Botanical Society as A System of Vegetables (1783–1785). [148]

Orbis eruditi judicium de Caroli Linnaei MD scriptis

('Opinion of the learned world on the writings of Carl Linnaeus, Doctor') Published in 1740, this small octavo-sized pamphlet was presented to the State Library of New South Wales by the Linnean Society of NSW in 2018. This is considered among the rarest of all the writings of Linnaeus, and crucial to his career, securing him his appointment to a professorship of medicine at Uppsala University. From this position he laid the groundwork for his radical new theory of classifying and naming organisms for which he was considered the founder of modern taxonomy.

Species Plantarum

Species Plantarum (or, more fully, Species Plantarum, exhibentes plantas rite cognitas, ad genera relatas, cum differentiis specificis, nominibus trivialibus, synonymis selectis, locis natalibus, secundum systema sexuale digestas) was first published in 1753, as a two-volume work. Its prime importance is perhaps that it is the primary starting point of plant nomenclature as it exists today. [110]

Genera Plantarum

Genera plantarum: eorumque characteres naturales secundum numerum, figuram, situm, et proportionem omnium fructificationis partium was first published in 1737, delineating plant genera. Around 10 editions were published, not all of them by Linnaeus himself the most important is the 1754 fifth edition. [149] In it Linnaeus divided the plant Kingdom into 24 classes. One, Cryptogamia, included all the plants with concealed reproductive parts (algae, fungi, mosses and liverworts and ferns). [150]

Philosophia Botanica

Philosophia Botanica (1751) [104] was a summary of Linnaeus's thinking on plant classification and nomenclature, and an elaboration of the work he had previously published in Fundamenta Botanica (1736) and Critica Botanica (1737). Other publications forming part of his plan to reform the foundations of botany include his Classes Plantarum and Bibliotheca Botanica: all were printed in Holland (as were Genera Plantarum (1737) and Systema Naturae (1735)), the Philosophia being simultaneously released in Stockholm. [151]

At the end of his lifetime the Linnean collection in Uppsala was considered one of the finest collections of natural history objects in Sweden. Next to his own collection he had also built up a museum for the university of Uppsala, which was supplied by material donated by Carl Gyllenborg (in 1744–1745), crown-prince Adolf Fredrik (in 1745), Erik Petreus (in 1746), Claes Grill (in 1746), Magnus Lagerström (in 1748 and 1750) and Jonas Alströmer (in 1749). The relation between the museum and the private collection was not formalised and the steady flow of material from Linnean pupils were incorporated to the private collection rather than to the museum. [152] Linnaeus felt his work was reflecting the harmony of nature and he said in 1754 "the earth is then nothing else but a museum of the all-wise creator's masterpieces, divided into three chambers". He had turned his own estate into a microcosm of that 'world museum'. [153]

In April 1766 parts of the town were destroyed by a fire and the Linnean private collection was subsequently moved to a barn outside the town, and shortly afterwards to a single-room stone building close to his country house at Hammarby near Uppsala. This resulted in a physical separation between the two collections the museum collection remained in the botanical garden of the university. Some material which needed special care (alcohol specimens) or ample storage space was moved from the private collection to the museum.

In Hammarby the Linnean private collections suffered seriously from damp and the depredations by mice and insects. Carl von Linné's son (Carl Linnaeus) inherited the collections in 1778 and retained them until his own death in 1783. Shortly after Carl von Linné's death his son confirmed that mice had caused "horrible damage" to the plants and that also moths and mould had caused considerable damage. [154] He tried to rescue them from the neglect they had suffered during his father's later years, and also added further specimens. This last activity however reduced rather than augmented the scientific value of the original material.

In 1784 the young medical student James Edward Smith purchased the entire specimen collection, library, manuscripts, and correspondence of Carl Linnaeus from his widow and daughter and transferred the collections to London. [155] [15] : 342–357 Not all material in Linné's private collection was transported to England. Thirty-three fish specimens preserved in alcohol were not sent and were later lost. [156]

In London Smith tended to neglect the zoological parts of the collection he added some specimens and also gave some specimens away. [157] Over the following centuries the Linnean collection in London suffered enormously at the hands of scientists who studied the collection, and in the process disturbed the original arrangement and labels, added specimens that did not belong to the original series and withdrew precious original type material. [154]

Much material which had been intensively studied by Linné in his scientific career belonged to the collection of Queen Lovisa Ulrika (1720–1782) (in the Linnean publications referred to as "Museum Ludovicae Ulricae" or "M. L. U."). This collection was donated by her grandson King Gustav IV Adolf (1778–1837) to the museum in Uppsala in 1804. Another important collection in this respect was that of her husband King Adolf Fredrik (1710–1771) (in the Linnean sources known as "Museum Adolphi Friderici" or "Mus. Ad. Fr."), the wet parts (alcohol collection) of which were later donated to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and is today housed in the Swedish Museum of Natural History at Stockholm. The dry material was transferred to Uppsala. [152]

The establishment of universally accepted conventions for the naming of organisms was Linnaeus's main contribution to taxonomy—his work marks the starting point of consistent use of binomial nomenclature. [158] During the 18th century expansion of natural history knowledge, Linnaeus also developed what became known as the Linnaean taxonomy the system of scientific classification now widely used in the biological sciences. A previous zoologist Rumphius (1627–1702) had more or less approximated the Linnaean system and his material contributed to the later development of the binomial scientific classification by Linnaeus. [159]

The Linnaean system classified nature within a nested hierarchy, starting with three kingdoms. Kingdoms were divided into classes and they, in turn, into orders, and thence into genera (singular: genus), which were divided into species (singular: species). [160] Below the rank of species he sometimes recognised taxa of a lower (unnamed) rank these have since acquired standardised names such as variety in botany and subspecies in zoology. Modern taxonomy includes a rank of family between order and genus and a rank of phylum between kingdom and class that were not present in Linnaeus's original system. [161]

Linnaeus's groupings were based upon shared physical characteristics, and not simply upon differences. [161] Of his higher groupings, only those for animals are still in use, and the groupings themselves have been significantly changed since their conception, as have the principles behind them. Nevertheless, Linnaeus is credited with establishing the idea of a hierarchical structure of classification which is based upon observable characteristics and intended to reflect natural relationships. [158] [162] While the underlying details concerning what are considered to be scientifically valid "observable characteristics" have changed with expanding knowledge (for example, DNA sequencing, unavailable in Linnaeus's time, has proven to be a tool of considerable utility for classifying living organisms and establishing their evolutionary relationships), the fundamental principle remains sound.

Human taxonomy

Linnaeus's system of taxonomy was especially noted as the first to include humans (Homo) taxonomically grouped with apes (Simia), under the header of Anthropomorpha. German biologist Ernst Haeckel speaking in 1907 noted this as the "most important sign of Linnaeus's genius". [163]

Linnaeus classified humans among the primates beginning with the first edition of Systema Naturae. [164] During his time at Hartekamp, he had the opportunity to examine several monkeys and noted similarities between them and man. [93] : 173–174 He pointed out both species basically have the same anatomy except for speech, he found no other differences. [165] [note 6] Thus he placed man and monkeys under the same category, Anthropomorpha, meaning "manlike." [166] This classification received criticism from other biologists such as Johan Gottschalk Wallerius, Jacob Theodor Klein and Johann Georg Gmelin on the ground that it is illogical to describe man as human-like. [167] In a letter to Gmelin from 1747, Linnaeus replied: [168] [note 7]

It does not please [you] that I've placed Man among the Anthropomorpha, perhaps because of the term 'with human form', [note 8] but man learns to know himself. Let's not quibble over words. It will be the same to me whatever name we apply. But I seek from you and from the whole world a generic difference between man and simian that [follows] from the principles of Natural History. [note 9] I absolutely know of none. If only someone might tell me a single one! If I would have called man a simian or vice versa, I would have brought together all the theologians against me. Perhaps I ought to have by virtue of the law of the discipline.

The theological concerns were twofold: first, putting man at the same level as monkeys or apes would lower the spiritually higher position that man was assumed to have in the great chain of being, and second, because the Bible says man was created in the image of God [169] (theomorphism), if monkeys/apes and humans were not distinctly and separately designed, that would mean monkeys and apes were created in the image of God as well. This was something many could not accept. [170] The conflict between world views that was caused by asserting man was a type of animal would simmer for a century until the much greater, and still ongoing, creation–evolution controversy began in earnest with the publication of On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin in 1859.

After such criticism, Linnaeus felt he needed to explain himself more clearly. The 10th edition of Systema Naturae introduced new terms, including Mammalia and Primates, the latter of which would replace Anthropomorpha [171] as well as giving humans the full binomial Homo sapiens. [172] The new classification received less criticism, but many natural historians still believed he had demoted humans from their former place of ruling over nature and not being a part of it. Linnaeus believed that man biologically belongs to the animal kingdom and had to be included in it. [173] In his book Dieta Naturalis, he said, "One should not vent one's wrath on animals, Theology decree that man has a soul and that the animals are mere 'aoutomata mechanica,' but I believe they would be better advised that animals have a soul and that the difference is of nobility." [174]

Linnaeus added a second species to the genus Homo in Systema Naturae based on a figure and description by Jacobus Bontius from a 1658 publication: Homo troglodytes ("caveman") [176] [177] and published a third in 1771: Homo lar. [178] Swedish historian Gunnar Broberg states that the new human species Linnaeus described were actually simians or native people clad in skins to frighten colonial settlers, whose appearance had been exaggerated in accounts to Linnaeus. [179]

In early editions of Systema Naturae, many well-known legendary creatures were included such as the phoenix, dragon, manticore, and satyrus, [180] [note 10] which Linnaeus collected into the catch-all category Paradoxa. Broberg thought Linnaeus was trying to offer a natural explanation and demystify the world of superstition. [181] Linnaeus tried to debunk some of these creatures, as he had with the hydra regarding the purported remains of dragons, Linnaeus wrote that they were either derived from lizards or rays. [182] For Homo troglodytes he asked the Swedish East India Company to search for one, but they did not find any signs of its existence. [183] Homo lar has since been reclassified as Hylobates lar, the lar gibbon. [184]

In the first edition of Systema Naturae, Linnaeus subdivided the human species into four varieties based on continent and [ dubious – discuss ] skin colour: "Europæus albesc[ens]" (whitish European), "Americanus rubesc[ens]" (redish American), "Asiaticus fuscus" (tawny Asian) and "Africanus nigr[iculus]" (blackish African). [185] [186] In the tenth edition of Systema Naturae he further detailed phenotypical characteristics for each variety, based on the concept of the four temperaments from classical antiquity, [187] [ dubious – discuss ] and changed the description of Asians' skin tone to "luridus" (yellow). [188] Additionally, Linnaeus created a wastebasket taxon "monstrosus" for "wild and monstrous humans, unknown groups, and more or less abnormal people". [189]

In 1959, W. T. Stearn designated Linnaeus to be the lectotype of H. sapiens. [190] [191] [192]

Linnaeus's applied science was inspired not only by the instrumental utilitarianism general to the early Enlightenment, but also by his adherence to the older economic doctrine of Cameralism. [193] Additionally, Linnaeus was a state interventionist. He supported tariffs, levies, export bounties, quotas, embargoes, navigation acts, subsidised investment capital, ceilings on wages, cash grants, state-licensed producer monopolies, and cartels. [194]

Anniversaries of Linnaeus's birth, especially in centennial years, have been marked by major celebrations. [195] Linnaeus has appeared on numerous Swedish postage stamps and banknotes. [195] There are numerous statues of Linnaeus in countries around the world. The Linnean Society of London has awarded the Linnean Medal for excellence in botany or zoology since 1888. Following approval by the Riksdag of Sweden, Växjö University and Kalmar College merged on 1 January 2010 to become Linnaeus University. [196] Other things named after Linnaeus include the twinflower genus Linnaea, the crater Linné on the Earth's moon, a street in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the cobalt sulfide mineral Linnaeite.

Linnaeus . was the most eminent naturalist of his time, a wide observer, a close thinker but the atmosphere in which he lived and moved and had his being was saturated with biblical theology, and this permeated all his thinking. . Toward the end of his life he timidly advanced the hypothesis that all the species of one genus constituted at the creation one species and from the last edition of his Systema Naturæ he quietly left out the strongly orthodox statement of the fixity of each species, which he had insisted upon in his earlier works. . warnings came speedily both from the Catholic and Protestant sides. [197]

The mathematical PageRank algorithm, applied to 24 multilingual Wikipedia editions in 2014, published in PLOS ONE in 2015, placed Carl Linnaeus at the top historical figure, above Jesus, Aristotle, Napoleon, and Adolf Hitler (in that order). [198] [199]

In the 21st century, Linnæus' taxonomy of human "races" has been problematised and discussed. Some critics [ who? ] claim that Linnæus was one of the forebears of the modern pseudoscientific notion of scientific racism, while others [ who? ] hold the view that while his classification was stereotyped, it did not imply that certain human "races" were superior to others. [ citation needed ]

  • Linnaeus, Carolus (1735). Systema naturae, sive regna tria naturae systematice proposita per classes, ordines, genera, & species. Leiden: Haak. pp. 1–12.
  • Linnaeus, Carolus Hendrik Engel Maria Sara Johanna Engel-Ledeboer (1964) [1735]. Systema Naturae (facsimile of the 1st ed.). Nieuwkoop, Netherlands: B. de Graaf. OCLC460298195.
  • Linnaeus, Carl (1755) [1751]. Philosophia botanica: in qua explicantur fundamenta botanica cum definitionibus partium, exemplis terminorum, observationibus rariorum, adiectis figuris aeneis. originally published simultaneously by R. Kiesewetter (Stockholm) and Z. Chatelain (Amsterdam). Vienna: Joannis Thomae Trattner . Retrieved 13 December 2015 .
  • Linnaeus, Carl (1753). Species Plantarum: exhibentes plantas rite cognitas, ad genera relatas, cum differentiis specificis, nominibus trivialibus, synonymis selectis, locis natalibus, secundum systema sexuale digestas. Stockholm: Impensis Laurentii Salvii. see also Species Plantarum
  • Linnaeus, Carolus (1758). Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. 1 (10th ed.). Stockholm: Laurentius Salvius. pp. [1–4], 1–824.
  • Linné, Carl von (1774). Murray, Johann Andreas (ed.). Systema vegetabilium (13th edition of Systema Naturae) (2 vols.) . Göttingen: Typis et impensis Jo. Christ. Dieterich . Retrieved 24 February 2015 .
    • Linné, Carl von (1785) [1774]. Systema vegetabilium (13th edition of Systema Naturae) [A System of Vegetables 2 vols. 1783–1785]. Lichfield: Lichfield Botanical Society . Retrieved 24 February 2015 .


    1. ^ ab Carl Linnaeus was born in 1707 on 13 May (Swedish calendar) or 23 May according to the Gregorian calendar. According to the Julian calendar he was born on 12 May. (Blunt 2004, p. 12)
    2. ^ICZN Chapter 16, Article – "For a nominal species or subspecies established before 2000, any evidence, published or unpublished, may be taken into account to determine what specimens constitute the type series." and Article 73.1.2 – "If the nominal species-group taxon is based on a single specimen, either so stated or implied in the original publication, that specimen is the holotype fixed by monotypy (see Recommendation 73F). If the taxon was established before 2000 evidence derived from outside the work itself may be taken into account [Art.] to help identify the specimen."
    3. ^ That is, Inaugural thesis in medicine, in which a new hypothesis on the cause of intermittent fevers is presented
    4. ^ "If this is not Helen's Nepenthes, it certainly will be for all botanists. What botanist would not be filled with admiration if, after a long journey, he should find this wonderful plant. In his astonishment past ills would be forgotten when beholding this admirable work of the Creator!" (translated from Latin by Harry Veitch)
    5. ^ The date of issue of both volumes was later, for practical purposes, arbitrarily set on 1 May, see Stearn, W. T. (1957), The preparation of the Species Plantarum and the introduction of binomial nomenclature, in: Species Plantarum, A Facsimile of the first edition, London, Ray Society: 72 and ICN (Melbourne Code) [111] Art. 13.4 Note 1: "The two volumes of Linnaeus' Species plantarum, ed. 1 (1753), which appeared in May and August, 1753, respectively, are treated as having been published simultaneously on 1 May 1753."
    6. ^Frängsmyr et al. (1983), p. 167, quotes Linnaeus explaining the real difference would necessarily be absent from his classification system, as it was not a morphological characteristic: "I well know what a splendidly great difference there is [between] a man and a bestia [literally, "beast" that is, a non-human animal] when I look at them from a point of view of morality. Man is the animal which the Creator has seen fit to honor with such a magnificent mind and has condescended to adopt as his favorite and for which he has prepared a nobler life". See also in which Linnaeus cites the significant capacity to reason as the distinguishing characteristic of humans.
    7. ^ Discussion of translation was originally made in this thread on in 2005. For an alternative translation, see Gribbin & Gribbin (2008), p. 56, or Slotkin (1965), p. 180.
    8. ^ "antropomorphon" [sic]
    9. ^ Others who followed were more inclined to give humans a special place in classification Johann Friedrich Blumenbach in the first edition of his Manual of Natural History (1779), proposed that the primates be divided into the Quadrumana (four-handed, i.e. apes and monkeys) and Bimana (two-handed, i.e. humans). This distinction was taken up by other naturalists, most notably Georges Cuvier. Some elevated the distinction to the level of order. However, the many affinities between humans and other primates—and especially the great apes—made it clear that the distinction made no scientific sense. Charles Darwin wrote, in The Descent of Man in 1871:

    The greater number of naturalists who have taken into consideration the whole structure of man, including his mental faculties, have followed Blumenbach and Cuvier, and have placed man in a separate Order, under the title of the Bimana, and therefore on an equality with the orders of the Quadrumana, Carnivora, etc. Recently many of our best naturalists have recurred to the view first propounded by Linnaeus, so remarkable for his sagacity, and have placed man in the same Order with the Quadrumana, under the title of the Primates. The justice of this conclusion will be admitted: for in the first place, we must bear in mind the comparative insignificance for classification of the great development of the brain in man, and that the strongly marked differences between the skulls of man and the Quadrumana (lately insisted upon by Bischoff, Aeby, and others) apparently follow from their differently developed brains. In the second place, we must remember that nearly all the other and more important differences between man and the Quadrumana are manifestly adaptive in their nature, and relate chiefly to the erect position of man such as the structure of his hand, foot, and pelvis, the curvature of his spine, and the position of his head.

    How many species did Carl Linnaeus classify? - Biology

    Carl Linnaeus, born 312 years ago today, was a Swedish biologist and physician who is known for the invention of Latin binomial nomenclature, popularly known as scientific names. This system amounts to a method for organizing and classifying plant and animal species. To bring his work home to us in a personal way, Linnaeus was the person who first classified you, me, and all of humankind as the genus and species, Homo sapiens.

    A great period of European global and scientific exploration was occurring during his lifetime, and animals, plants, and specimens were arriving back in Europe from all over the world. People were eager to learn, recognize, organize, and understand the relationships between all these new species, and Linnaeus’ work creating and popularizing a naming system enabled them to grapple with this goal.

    Scientific names (binomial nomenclature) consist of a genus and a species name. The genus describes a larger grouping of organisms with certain common characteristics, while the species name describes only one, unique particular organism grouped within that genus, or larger classification.

    The advantage of using scientific names over common names is huge. Many common names for the same animal or plant differ widely from one person to another, or from geographic area to another, and certainly from one language to another. For example, a “roly-poly bug” in one part of the U.S. may be known as a pill bug, a sow bug, a doodle bug, or any number of other names. But the scientific name for the designated species of the common pill bug has one scientific name only: Armadillidium vulgare, so if an insect is designated this way, we know exactly what critter we are talking about.

    Why is Latin, and some Greek, the predominant language used for scientific names? When Linnaeus was first naming organisms, Latin was the language of science. In fact, Linnaeus was said to speak Latin as early as he learned to speak Swedish. Highly educated people of the period could all read and write in Latin which enabled them to share scientific information, regardless of whether their native tongue was Swedish, French, English, German, or any other European language of the time.

    When he was only 28, Linnaeus wrote Systema Naturae or the System of Nature, a fundamental work of biology which introduced and used his binomial nomenclature throughout the book. In one section, he focused on the importance of the sexual parts of plants when classifying them. In describing male and female parts of flowering plants, he referred to “two brides in bed with one husband” to explain the presence of two pistils and one stamen. One of his critics took violent offense and called Linnaeus’ focus on the sex organs “loathsome harlotry,” believing that God would never have permitted such licentious behavior in plants! But Linnaeus got the last laugh he named a very small weed after him. Sigesbeckia orientalis, or common St. Paul’s wort, in case you were wondering.

    Never a modest man, Linnaeus at age 33 claimed he was the scientific equal to Newton and Galileo. He died of a stroke in 1778. Much of his basic work on species classification is still used today, with many new ideas, of course, being incorporated.

    During his lifetime, he made several expeditions to parts of Sweden where he described the plants, animals, and in some cases the cultural aspects of each area. The accompanying hand-drawn maps are from books written by Linnaeus that resulted from these trips. These books are treasures from our very own rare book room.

    Top 10 Outstanding Facts about Carl Linnaeus

    Carl was a Swedish botanist, zoologist, taxonomist, and physician. He is credited for formalizing binomial nomenclature this is the modern system of naming organisms.

    A lot of his writing was done in Latin and he even wrote his name in Latin, Carolus Linnæus. Carl defined natural genera and species of organisms.

    He pushed biology to new heights by classifying the human species the same way he did to animals and plants. Carl lived between 1707 and 1778. He made a great contribution to the body of science.

    Here are the top 10 outstanding facts about Carl Linnaeus.

    1. Like father like son

    Photo by Ante Hamersmit on Unsplash

    Carl Linnaeus was born on May 23, 1707, in Råshult in southern Sweden. His father, Nils Ingemarsson Linnaeus, was a church minister and amateur botanist.

    Carl’s father believed education was the best gift he could give to his children. While he enrolled Carl in school, he also taught him botany, religion and Latin.

    Growing up, he was a very attentive boy. He closely watched his father and grew interested in plants and botany.

    Carl was a talented boy and a quick learner, his father saw this and got him a private tutor when he was 7 years old.

    2. Carl Linnaeus’s teachers thought he was not bright enough

    Carl Linnaeus got enrolled on school at the age of 10. Although he was a talented boy, he had a difficult time learning at school.

    This did not stop him from working hard in his botanical studies. He was being tutored privately for this.

    By the time Carl was graduating from high school, his teachers thought he was not ready to go to university. None of them paid attention to his interest in botany.

    Back then, bright students were expected to be excellent in Greek, Hebrew, mathematics and theology subjects which Carl was not interested in.

    One of his teachers suggested that he takes a career in medicine. He soon moved into the Rothman family home where he was given lessons on anatomy and physiology.

    By the age of 21, Linnaeus was ready for university.

    3. His father was concerned about his progress in school

    Photo by Ante Hamersmit on Unsplash

    When he got enrolled on Grammar School, Carl never paid attention to his classes. He loved being outdoors looking for plants.

    His father would constantly visit him to check on his progress. Most of what he heard from his teachers were not promising. He, therefore, took Carl to learn how to make shoes.

    One of Carl’s teachers noticed his interest and let him work on his garden. He has introduced to Johan Rothman a doctor and a teacher.

    Rothman worked with Carl and broadened his interest in medicine.

    4. Their surname is from a naming system his father started

    Carl’s father was educated too. He attended university and therefore had to have a permanent surname.

    During their time if one went to university, they did not have to change their names based on parentage. Carl’s father named himself after a tree that was common in the region.

    He gave Carl the name Nilsson to keep up with the traditional naming system.

    5. Carl’s mother wanted him to become a priest

    Photo by Annie Theby on Unsplash

    While Carl’s father was focused on getting his son the best education, his mother wanted him to be a priest.

    Carl was enrolled in a school that trained young boys into the priesthood. He did not do well while there and his father had to transfer him.

    She was unhappy that her eldest son was not good enough to study theology at university.

    She was however pleased when he joined university and later became a lecturer at a young age.

    Carl was one of the youngest lecturers to give a public lecture in 1730. His lectures were popular and he would address more than 300 people.

    6. During his expedition, Carl walked or mounted horse

    Linnaeus travelled around the coast of the Gulf of Bothnia. He made major inland trips from Umeå, Luleå and Tornio.

    Carl returned after six months, having travelled more than 2000 kilometres. He gathered and observed many plants, birds and rocks.

    His region did not have a lot of biodiversities but Carl was able to describe more than 100 unidentified plants.

    He used Latin names to describe organisms because he had not yet developed the binomial system.

    It was during this expedition that he discovered the classification of mammals. He found the lower jawbone of a horse at the side of a road he was travelling.

    7. Carl studied medicine but he did not practice

    All Swedish medical students were required to receive their degrees outside Sweden. Carl, therefore, finished his studies at the University of Harderwijk in the Netherlands in 1735.

    His doctorate dissertation was on the causes of malaria. Carl remained in the Netherlands for another three years where he enrolled in the University of Leiden to continue his studies.

    Carl’s time in the Netherlands was able to network with some of the best and greatest scientists.

    After he finished his studies, Carl returned to Sweden where he started his medical career and got married.

    8. Linnaeus helped found the Royal Swedish Academy of Science

    Linnaeus returned to Sweden in 1738. He practised medicine in the nation’s capital city, Stockholm. Carl helped found the Royal Swedish Academy of Science and became its first president.

    He did not practice medicine for long, he took up a position as a professor of medicine at Uppsala. Later on, he became the head of the botanical garden.

    9. He was not allowed to marry until he was financially stable

    Photo by Annie Theby on Unsplash

    Soon after getting his doctorate degree, Carl returned to Sweden where he met his love, Sara Elisabeth Morea.

    He could afford to marry her because he did not have a job. He worked as a doctor and was able to get enough funds to marry.

    Their wedding was held on 26 June 1739. The couple got their first child a year later, followed by another daughter two years after the firstborn.

    Unfortunately, their daughter died a few days after birth. They had four other children.

    10. He named his moved devoted students’ apostles

    While working as Professor at Rector of Uppsala University, Carl taught many devoted students. He named them the 17 apostles.

    These students were the most promising and committed students he had ever worked with. The students made botanical expeditions to various places in the world.

    Carl was able to get his students a scholarship as well as give instructions on what to look for on their journeys. Unfortunately, most of his apostles died during the expeditions.


    Discover Walks contributors speak from all corners of the world - from Prague to Bangkok, Barcelona to Nairobi. We may all come from different walks of life but we have one common passion - learning through travel.

    Whether you want to learn the history of a city, or you simply need a recommendation for your next meal, Discover Walks Team offers an ever-growing travel encyclopaedia.

    For local insights and insider’s travel tips that you won’t find anywhere else, search any keywords in the top right-hand toolbar on this page. Happy travels!

    How did Carl Linnaeus classify animals?

    Carolus Linnaeus' great work, the Systema Naturae (1st ed. 1735), ran through twelve editions during his lifetime. In this work, nature was divided into three kingdoms: mineral, vegetable and animal. Linnaeus used five ranks: class, order, genus, species, and variety.

    He abandoned long descriptive names of classes and orders and two-word generic names (e. g. Bursa pastoris ) still used by his immediate predecessors (Rivinus and Pitton de Tournefort) and replaced them with single-word names, provided genera with detailed diagnoses ( characteres naturales ), and reduced numerous varieties to their species, thus saving botany from the chaos of new forms produced by horticulturalists.

    Linnaeus is best known for his introduction of the method still used to formulate the scientific name of every species. Before Linnaeus, long many-worded names (composed of a generic name and a differentia specifica ) had been used, but as these names gave a description of the species, they were not fixed. In his Philosophia Botanica (1751) Linnaeus took every effort to improve the composition and reduce the length of the many-worded names by abolishing unnecessary rhetorics, introducing new descriptive terms and defining their meaning with an unprecedented precision. In the late 1740s Linnaeus began to use a parallel system of naming species with nomina trivialia. Nomen triviale , a trivial name, was a single- or two-word epithet placed on the margin of the page next to the many-worded "scientific" name. The only rules Linnaeus applied to them was that the trivial names should be short, unique within a given genus, and that they should not be changed. Linnaeus consistently applied nomina trivialia to the species of plants in Species Plantarum (1st edn. 1753) and to the species of animals in the 10th edition of Systema Naturae (1758).

    By consistently using these specific epithets, Linnaeus separated nomenclature from taxonomy. Even though the parallel use of nomina trivialia and many-worded descriptive names continued until late in the eighteenth century, it was gradually replaced by the practice of using shorter proper names combined of the generic name and the trivial name of the species. In the nineteenth century, this new practice was codified in the first Rules and Laws of Nomenclature, and the 1st edn. of Species Plantarum and the 10th edn. of Systema Naturae were chosen as starting points for the Botanical and Zoological Nomenclature respectively. This convention for naming species is referred to as binomial nomenclature.

    Gaspard and Johann Bauhin

    An early form of the naming system was developed by the brothers Gaspard and Johann Bauhin, Swedish botanists who lived in from the mid-1500’s to the early 1600’s. In 1596, Gaspard published his book Pinax theatric botanici (“Illustrated Exposition of Plants”) that described and classified thousands of plants. His classification system was simple but was the first of its kind, grouping plants into “herbs,” “trees” and “shrubs” and further dividing the categories based on how the plant is used. The major contribution of this work, however, was his idea to describe plants using a genus and/or species. During the same time period, his brother Johann worked on his pioneering book Historia plantarum universalis (“General History of Plants”) which was published after his death. Although unfinished, it captured all the knowledge of botany that was known at the time including Gaspard’s unique naming convention.

    Carolus Linnaeus Theory Explained

    Carlous Linnaeus, who often went by the more conventional “Carl,” is often called the “Father of Taxonomy.” He created a system for ranking, classifying, and naming organisms. Many of his ideas about classification are still used today, creating an influence on biologists that has shaped the scientific world since the 18th century.

    Linnaeus loved nature and held strong to a faith of natural theology. He felt that a person could understand the wisdom of God better by studying what he felt God had created. By searching for order, Linnaeus felt that order would be discovered.

    The Sexual Basis of the Carlous Linnaeus Theory

    The plant taxonomy theory that Linnaeus developed was based solely on the arrangement and number of reproductive organs that were present. In the Linnaeus theory, the classification of a plant would be determined by the stamens and the order of pistels. For this reason, many of his groups seemed to not make sense compared with other scientific observations from the day.

    Linnaeus would classify plants without obvious sex organs in their own class. Those with multiple male organs joined to one common base would be combined with plants that had separate male and female organs on the same plant.

    Linnaeus would admit that his classifications were more artificial than natural. His goal was to account for the differences and similarities that could be seen in plants.

    Then Linnaeus would go on to connect the sexuality of a plant to the sexuality that occurs in human love. How a plant reproduces would be compared to a “bridal bed.”

    The Naming System Introduced by Carlous Linnaeus

    Linnaeus recognized that a workable naming system would be required to classify plants, and eventually animals, so that each species could be separately identified. After working through several options, he settled on designating names with one Latin name to indicate the genus, then a shorthand name to determine the name for the species.

    This would create a system of binomial naming, which would become the foundation of his theories on creation. The oldest plant names that are accepted as a valid name today were published by Linnaeus in 1753 in his work called “Species Plantarum.” The oldest animal names were published by Linnaeus in 1758 in his work called “Systema Naturae.”

    Although some scientists and researchers used Latin names for plants and animals before Linneaus, they are not usually considered to be a valid name. It is the consistent use of the naming system that has stuck from the Carlous Linnaeus theory and why his names have been given a priority.

    Why Linnaeus Began to Name Plants and Animals

    In his early works, Linnaeus believed that life was “fixed” on the planet. This meant a rose was always a rose, a wolf was always a wolf, and nothing would change that. It is the reason behind his desire to create a pattern of consistent naming. By classifying each animal species, Linnaeus could “theologically prove” that God was behind the complexity of creation.

    As Linnaeus observed the natural world, however, he would have his theological beliefs challenged. Rather than having each species be fixed, he realized that hybridization could occur within the natural world. Different species of plant could hybridize and create forms which looked like a brand-new species of plant.

    After observing several instances of hybridization, Linnaeus would abandon the idea that species were invariable. He would then shift to suggest that a genus could arise after creation, with plants and eventually animals being able to alter themselves through a process of acclimitazation.

    Near the end of his life, he even began to suggest that the hybridization of genera could occur to give rise to new genera. This would essentially be the foundation of the first theories of evolution, which would eventually be brought to popularity by theorists like Charles Darwin.

    One could even say that his description of nature being a “war of all against all” is an early version of the “survival of the fittest” idea. The idea of open-ended evolution, however, is clearly not part of the Carlous Linnaeus theory.

    Thanks to his search for a natural system, the scientific world is still classifying life based on the naming systems and consistency that Linnaeus created. Whether he discovered a Divine Order to the planet through this process is left to him, but what we do have is a systematic method of discovering and using information to identify relationships in the natural world.


  1. Oengus

    I accept it with pleasure. The topic is interesting, I will take part in the discussion. I know that together we can come to the right answer.

  2. Shawnn

    it is obvious, you were not mistaken

  3. Mannix

    In my opinion, you are making a mistake. Let's discuss. Email me at PM, we'll talk.

  4. Bryceton

    the Incomparable topic, it is very interesting to me :)

  5. Arakinos

    The question is interesting, I too will take part in discussion. Together we can come to a right answer. I am assured.

  6. Freca

    I think he is wrong. I'm sure. I am able to prove it.

  7. Lincoln

    Yes thanks

Write a message