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Bottlenose dolphin
In biology, taxonomy is the science of naming and hierarchically grouping organisms according to their proven or presumed relationships.
The system was developed by the Swedish scientist Linnaeus in the 18th century, and is based on two main features:
  1. Binomial nomenclature
    Any organism's scientific name is a combination of two terms - the genus and the species. Both terms are italicised and the genus name is also capitalised (e.g. Orcinus orca).
  2. Classification categories
    Species are ordered hierarchically into a series of categories and subcategories, which become more and more specific as the species level is approached.
    The 7 major categories are:
    Kingdom -> Phylum -> Class -> Order -> Family -> Genus -> Species.
Whales, dolphins and porpoises, collectively called cetaceans, belong to the Cetacea order.

For cetaceans, an extra category called suborder (placed between order and family) comes into play so that a distinction can be made between toothed and baleen species - i.e. odontoceti and mysticeti.
A third suborder called archaeoceti comprises a group of extinct animals, which is not included in's taxonomy browser.
Taxonomy Browser
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Skip Navigation Links.