Carl Linnaeus

Hello class. My name is Carl Linnaes. I was born in the southern Swedish provency of Smaland in 1707. Yes I know it was a long time ago. People consider me to be one of the most influencial scientist of my time. My life’s work was to develop and refine a way to group life on earth. In other words, to classify it. My system is very straight-foward, consequently it’s very used by scientists. My father has a strong influence in my life because he also had a deep love with plants and a fascination with names from his very early age. Now I believe the saying that an apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

I studied medicine in the Lud University and in the University of Uppsala in Sweden. I confess that I devoted a large amount of time to the study of plants and in 1732 I managed a bothanical experience to lab plants. Over 5 months I travelled three thousands milles collecting biological species and taking notes. This took me lots of patience and discipline. In 1734, I headed to another expedition to cental Sweden.

I have to confess that I’m a little stubborn person. I wouldn’t believe anything before I check it with my own eyes. My fellows try to convince me with certain things but I have to see them before beliving in them…

In 1735 I moved to Netherland and in the same year I publised my most well-known work: The Systema Nature. In it, I outlined a new system for naming all living things. I’m very pround to say that I have accomplished too main goals with my hard work. First it is the Classification System, particurlally with the palnt kingdom. And second it is the introduction of the new naming system using the genus and species names.

The naming system is my primary legacy. My first book of classification is very large and organized in columns. In 1738 I returned to Sweden where I practiced medicine specializinh in the treatment for syphilis. And in 1741 I became a professor.

During my whole life I had a strong interest in nature. I wrote about classification but also how organisms reacts within the environment. I also explored food chains and defined the concept of race dividing humans into four groups: Americanas, Asiaticas, Africanas and Europeans.

I admit that I was forced to retire from teaching because of a stroke. But unfortunately I was surprised by another that took my life in 1778. I just have to say that my life was intensely driven by nature and a desire to understand and classify it.

The study of the Tree of Life is very challenging because it is made up of millions branchs. Many groups of organisms have a very complex ancestry that make hard to record events that happened very fast a long time ago. Computer scientists are exploring methods, shortcuts, to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships. They have developed new approaches to this problems by the help of computer programs.

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