Determination (biology)

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Determination , also known as identification , determination or specification , in biology is the assignment of an individual living being ( animal , fungus , plant or unicellular microorganism ) to a taxonomic unit ( taxon ), usually the species . This leads to a name from scientific nomenclature ( e.g. Panthera leo ); occasionally, however, the determination is only successful at a higher taxonomic level, such as the genus (e.g. Panthera ) or the family (e.g. Felidae ). A scientific determination is always made on the basis of natural, inheritable traits , i.e. characterizing properties, which are described in the diagnosis of the taxon. These characteristics can be based on morphology , anatomy , physiology , behavior or on molecular structures. Determinations are carried out manually or with the aid of a computer using identification keys or with reference copies from natural history museums or private collections .

See also


  • J. Winston: Describing Species . Columbia University Press 1999.