Taxonomy question


Colossal Squid
After browsing through other sites, tree of life, wikipedia, etc. a question popped back into my head that i had meant to ask our more enlightened members before but i forgot....

Is there and if so, how much of a difference exists between a subclass and a superorder?

Steve O'Shea

Colossal Squid
WK, there's no set 'level of difference' between anything above a species (as in the species is the only real biological unit); everything above it, genus, family, order, class (and any sub- and super categories) is an artefact, a way of grouping like, an ordering system.

Steve O'Shea

Colossal Squid
Nail on the head! That's why there's so much debate, name changing and instability in a classification; there's no such thing as a 'last word'.


Staff member
I'm currently reading Reef Madness by David Dobbs (just started it), it focuses on the different approaches (and also personalities) of Darwin, Agassiz (both father and son), Cuvier, etc. It touches on some of the history of taxonomy, how it was driven by creationism, etc. Great book so far!

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