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Classification And Evolution

History of Biological Classification

Let us read about the history of biological classification.

The early contribution towards classification is also seen in writings of many ancient Indian philosophers and sages. The important ones among them are:


Charaka: (600 B.C)


Charaka was one of the great ancient sages of India. He was a philosopher, astronomer and a physician. He has mentioned about 340 types of plants and 200 types of animals in his book named “Charaka Samhita”. This book is considered as the most authoritative and ancient writing in ayurveda available today.  He is known as the father of medicine for his contribution in the field of ayurveda.


Parashara: (100 B.C)


Parashara, a great ancient sage has given detailed description of plants in his book “Vrikshaayurveda”. He has classified plants into several ‘ganas’ on the basis of characteristic of flowers.  The description given by the Parashara about the classification of these plants is very close to the modern classification.


In his another book named “Krishiparashara” he has explained about the benefits of farming. The farmers can manage and plan various activities of farming by studying this book. For example, according to him, the winds arising from the north or west can bring rainfall while as winds from the east and south do not bring any rainfall.




Example 1

What are the drawbacks of the classification given by Aristotle?


The criteria used by Aristotle for classification are superficial and do not reflect the natural relationships. It is a misleading system of classification. In the classification given by Aristotle, many unrelated organisms are placed in the same group on the basis of their habitats (dwelling places). For example, c…

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