Wednesday 24 June 2020

Classifying the Animal Kingdom

In order for us to understand how all living organisms are related, they are arranged into different groups. The more features that a group of animals share, the more specific the group is. Animals are given scientific names so that people all around the world can communicate about animals, no matter what language they speak (these names are traditionally based on Latin words). Animals belong to a number of different groups, starting with the animal kingdom.

All living organisms are first placed into different kingdoms. There are five different kingdoms to classify life on Earth, which are Animals, Plants, Fungi, Bacteria, and Protists (single-celled organisms).

The animal kingdom is divided into 40 smaller groups, known as phylum. Here, animals are grouped by their main features. Animals usually fall into one of five different phylum which are Cnidaria (invertebrates), Chordata (vertebrates), Arthropods, Molluscs and Echinoderms.

The phylum group is then divided into even smaller groups, known as classes. The Chordata (vertebrates) phylum splits up into Mammalia (Mammals), Actinopterygii (Bony Fish), Chondrichthyes (Cartilaginous Fish) , Aves (Birds), Amphibia (Amphibians) and Reptilia (Reptiles).

Each class is divided into small groups again, known as orders. The class Mammalia (Mammals), splits into different groups including Carnivora, Primate, Artiodactyla and Rodentia.

In every order, there are different families of animals which all have very similar features. The Carnivora order breaks into families that include Felidae (Cats), Canidae (Dogs), Ursidae (Bears), and Mustelidae (Weasels).

Every animal family is then divided into small groups known as genera. Each genus contains animals that have very similar features and are closely related. For example, the Felidae (Cat) family contains genera including Felis (small Cats and domestic Cats), Panthera (Tigers, Leopards, Jaguars and Lions) and Puma (Panthers and Cougars).

Each individual species within the genus is usually named after it's individual features and characteristics. The names of animals are based on Latin to help them to be understood worldwide,  They consist of two words. The first word in the name of an animal will be the genus, and the second name indicates the specific species.

Example  - Tiger
Kingdom: Animalia (Animal)
Phylum: Chordata (Vertebrate)
Class: Mammalia (Mammal)
Order: Carnivora (Carnivore)
Family: Felidae (Cat)
Genus: Panthera
Species: Panthera tigris (Tiger)

Whilst this is now universally recognised it is not the only way of classifying creatures.  I like this one -

Friday 19 June 2020

Social distancing

"Social distancing - what is that?"    It seems the folk in my local supermarket have not heard of it.

As Friend-uber-special said to me recently - "It's like manners, all you can do is look to your own."

Wednesday 3 June 2020


For only the second or third time in 10 weeks we've got rain bouncing off the patio. It's a strange sound. And talking of sound it is now 12 months since they began demolishing the nursing home next door and building apartments. Twelve months of banging, crashing, machinery, shouting - all of which can be clearly heard inside our house.  Beginning before 8 a.m.. Some times the bangs are loud enough for our foundations to shake.  They have rarely worked on Sunday and they had four weeks off at the beginning of lockdown.  But I am desperate for them to finish. 

The garden rubbish bin hasn't been emptied for months (though I must point out the binmen - sorry refuse collection operatives - have done a brilliant job in keeping our other bins emptied). 

Lockdown has meant I haven't been able to go to Isabelles, my favourite café, for coffee. 

Nor has bus travel into the countryside been possible. 

I have yet to meet my latest grandchild who was born in January. And my planned trip to stay with my brother in the Hebrides for a few weeks hás, of course, gone for a burton.  I haven't been able to have coffee or lunch with any of my friends. And I could not attend my cousin's funeral. 

In all it's not been a good year. 

But at least I'm not a black American with a murderer pressing on my throat while police officers stand around and watch. 

Black lives matter.  Silence is racism.  We need to all speak out. 

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