Kingdoms of Life – How Life is Organized

In the Rocky Mountains, life surrounds us everywhere.  It can be overwhelming and confusing to a non-expert.  Luckily, scientists have studied life for years and have developed a good system of organizing and classifying all of the different forms of life.  This system breaks all life forms into 6 main kingdoms of life.

dog bird 10As a dog, I have a hard time keeping track of all the different kinds of life in the world.  I do my best, but it is hard because there is just so much.  Luckily, I don’t have to come up with some system myself since I can simply learn the one that scientists have come up with.

This system organizes life by it’s different characteristics, grouping things together that share similar characteristics.  For example, they grouped together all plants and then put the flowering plants together within that.  Unfortunately, they also grouped dogs and cats together!

Here is a simple diagram that shows the main categories or Kingdoms that all forms of life fit into:

kingdoms of life diagram

Simple key to the kingdoms of life.

Scientists have this system for organizing all forms of life, but as you can see this diagram just shows the most general categories, such as plants, and animals, and  a few of the smaller categories.  We all know that there are different kinds of animals such as birds and mammals.  These are very different from each other and belong within different groups.

To solve this, scientists have organized life beginning with these six major kingdoms, which are very general, and then get more and more specific as they organize life into smaller and smaller groups.  For example, in the diagram above the animal kingdom has two main groups below it – animals with and without a backbone.  Then below each of those there are more groups that organize similar animals.

This organization system shows where all forms of life belong.  Most forms of life have a common name and a latin name, which is the one used by scientists to identify something.  Scientists use two names to describe a form of life using what is called the binomial naming system.  The binomial naming system is how scientists name something to show where it falls into the Kingdoms of Life.  For example, a dog would be canis familiarus.

This naming system begins with the most general group and then gets into more and more specific groups.  The biggest group, shown in diagram above, is the Kingdom and the most specific is Species.  The order is Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species.

An easy way to remember these names is Kings Play Chess On Funny Green Squares.  The first letter of each of these is the first letter of the classification system, Kingdom, Phylum, Classification, Order, Family, Genus, Species.