Taxonomy & biological classification

(needs some research!)


Biological classification is how biologists group organisms.

The standard classification has its root in the work of Aristotle who came up with a multi-ranked system. A great influence was Carolus Linnaeus, who popularized the idea of giving each animal or plant species a two-part name, with one part indicating the genus, and the second part the species. The human species is named Homo sapiens. Names of species are often printed in italics, although there is no obligation to do so (this also goes for names of genera, etc, etc)

Biological classification is also known as taxonomy. It is a science, and like most sciences has evolved over time. At various times different principles were adopted, and it is not rare for different scientists to use different methods. Since about a century, groupings are supposed to fit the Darwinian principle of common descent. These days, molecular evolution studies, which use DNA sequence analysis as data, are popular. This is often called “phylogenetics”, a branch or form of cladism. This approach creates an evolutionary Tree of life (biology) and uses characters (traits) to decide on the branches of the taxonomy.

Sometimes organisms placed in the same group (taxon) are similar; such similarity is not necessarity coincidence. It may be the result of shared descent from a common ancestor.[1]


Codex Seraphinianus


The book is an encyclopedia in manuscript with copious hand-drawn, colored-pencil illustrations of bizarre and fantastical flora, fauna, anatomies, fashions, and foods It has been compared to the Voynich manuscript,  “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius”,  and the works of M.C. Escher and Hieronymus Bosch.

The illustrations are often surreal parodies of things in the real world: bleeding fruit; a plant that grows into roughly the shape of a chair and is subsequently made into one; a lovemaking couple that metamorphoses into an alligator; etc. Others depict odd, apparently senseless machines, often with a delicate appearance, kept together by tiny filaments. There are also illustrations readily recognizable as maps or human faces. On the other hand, especially in the “physics” chapter, many images look almost completely abstract. Practically all figures are brightly coloured and rich in detail.

Turing patterns


When I was looking trough the microscope I realized that almost everything is build up from the same tiny pieves (cells). Ofcourse I knew this but to realize that everything starts with even more tiny particles and grow to bigger constructions fascinates me.

For a while I was wondering if it was coincidence that the patterns I saw trough the microscope  where almost the same as shapes you see back in nature, and especially the sea.

well, it isn’t. I found a book about this phenomenon from Alan Turing called ‘The chemical basis of morphogenesis”

Continue reading “Turing patterns”


L- systems“An L-system or Lindenmayer system is a parallel rewriting system and a type of formal grammar. An L-system consists of an alphabet of symbols that can be used to make strings, a collection of production rules that expand each symbol into some larger string of symbols, an initial “axiom” string from which to begin construction, and a mechanism for translating the generated strings into geometric structures. L-systems were introduced and developed in 1968 by Aristid Lindenmayer, a Hungarian theoretical biologist and botanist at the University of Utrecht. Lindenmayer used L-systems to describe the behaviour of plant cells and to model the growth processes of plant development. L-systems have also been used to model the morphology of a variety of organisms and can be used to generate self-similar fractals such as iterated function systems.”


I talked a lot about what I wanted over the past few weeks and started to search the web. I found a really good “thing” that could be the ground to build on.

What really fascinated me was how natural things grow and are build. Is it predictable? Can we influence it to create new shapes? I know we can but can I do this?

I didn’t know where to start but I found the term “morphology” what seems to question and research the same fields as where I want to be in.

“Morphology is a branch of biology dealing with the study of the form and structure of organisms and their specific structural features. This includes aspects of the outward appearance (shape, structure, colour, pattern,size), i.e., external morphology (eidonomy) as well as the form and structure of the internal parts like bones and organs, i.e., internal morphology or anatomy

I’m going to search for the book “metamorphosis of plants” from Goethe and see where it takes me.