How are Organisms Classified?
Phyla are the next level down from Kingdoms. These look for physical similarities between organisms, suggesting a common ancestor.
Orders are a smaller way of grouping than a class, but bigger than a family, genus, or species. Examples of orders are Bats, Beetles, and Frogs.
Families have even more similarities than orders, classes, or phyla. For example, we are part of the Hominidae family! Different species of animals are in their own families as well.
Genus is a way to describe an organism by its generic (scientific) name. There are very few organisms within the same Genus. So, as a result, there are many different scientific names we use for different animals and plants. The genus of an organism helps to name it!
What Was the First Living Organism?
The first living organisms were called prokaryotes. These did not have a cell membrane or a nucleus. They were only made up of one cell. This earned them the name single-celled organisms. They appeared around four billion years ago and are still around today! You can’t see them because they’re so small. But, you can sure feel them when you’re sick!
The World’s Largest Organism: The Humongous Fungus
The world’s largest organism spans about 2.4 miles across the Blue Mountains in Oregon. It is said to be delicious when cooked. But what could it be? It is a honey fungus! When these fungi meet, they have the ability to fuse together into one. These fungi, in particular, are known for killing trees by banding together and infesting the trees. Awesome, right? I think so.
Other Great Resources:
Classification of Living Things – SoftSchools: http://www.softschools.com/science/biology/classification_of_living_things/
Unicellular Organisms – SimpleWikipedia: https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unicellular_organism
Bill Nye the Science Guy: