K is for Kingdom

KPart of working with animals, is learning about them. I went to one of the only programs in the world that specializes in the training and management of animals, the Exotic Animal Training and Management Program of Moorpark College. My first year there had my nose in the books and cleaning the zoo grounds. The very first animal I ever got to train was a rat, but I digress.

As part of my studies, I had to learn the scientific classifications of many animals. Sometimes, in order to be very clear when addressing animals, you need to use the scientific names. The world often has many different “general” names for the same animal, but the scientific name is always consistent. Animals are classified into 7 main different categories and I’m here to help you get them straight. Ready? Here goes!

Kings Play Chess On Fine Green Silk

“Huh?” you ask.

  • Kingdom
  • Phylum
  • Class
  • Order
  • Family
  • Genus
  • Species

Generally, the full lay out of an animal’s classification does not go into the scientific name. The scientific name is composed of the last two elements, Genus and Species. As an example, the Orca is known scientifically as Orcinus Orca. Let’s do a full break down of the Orca.

  • Kingdom : Animalia – meaning it is an animal
  • Phylum: Chordata – meaning it is an animal that has a post-anal tail, a notochord, spinal cord and pharyngeal slits at some point in its life.
  • Class: Mammalia – being a mammal.
  • Order: Cetacea – marine mammals specifically, whales, dolphins and porpoises.
  • suborder: Odontoceti – toothed whale.Β 
  • Family: Delphinidae – dolphin
  • Genus: Orcinus
  • Species: O. Orca

You may have noticed a suborder popped in there. Sometimes there needs to be further classification within an order. For example, there are many kinds of whales and dolphins in the world so there needed to be an additional classification. There are baleen whales that have baleen plates in their mouths in order to filter the water for their food and then there are toothed whales, like the orca, that have actual teeth.

Let’s do a quick comparison between a ferret and a stoat.


  • Kingdom – Animalia
  • Phylum – Chordata
  • Class – Mammalia
  • Order – Carnivora
  • Family – Mustelidae
  • Genus – Mustela
  • Species – M. Putorius
  • sub species – M.P. Furo


  • Kingdom – Animalia
  • Phylum – Chordata
  • Class – Mammalia
  • Order – Carnivora
  • Family – Mustelidae
  • Genus – Mustela
  • Species – M. Erminea

As you can see a ferret and a stoat are extremely related, they are just a different species from each other. You can also see that in a distant way, ferrets, stoats and orcas are related. In as much as they are all Animals, have a nerve chord (or spine) and are mammals. They all happen to be carnivores as well. Having this detailed classification for all animals, helps us better understand how related they are or aren’t. One last one …

Homo Sapiens

  • Kingdom – Animalia
  • Phylum – Chordata
  • Class – Mammalia
  • Order – Primates
  • Family – Hominidea
  • Genus – Hominini
  • Species – H. Sapiens

Bonobo Chimpanzee

  • Kingdom – Animalia
  • Phylum – Chordata
  • Class – Mammalia
  • Order – Primates
  • Family – Hominidae
  • Genus – Pan
  • Species – P. Paniscus

Β© Semi Charmed Life

This post is part of the A to Z Challenge


10 thoughts on “K is for Kingdom

  1. That is really interesting!!! As I mentioned in a different comment I don’t have a very scientific brain so I have trouble learning stuff like this, but wow you lay it out so simply even I understand it. πŸ˜€

  2. This is one of the few things I do remember from GCSE Biology.

    I went to an all boys grammar school. Our rhyme was “King Philip Came Over For Gay Sex.” πŸ˜‰

    Sometimes it’s best not to ask how teenage boys minds work!

Share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s