A Short History of Nearly Everything - Part 5,Chapter 23 Summary & Analysis

Bill Bryson
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Part 5,Chapter 23 Summary and Analysis

The 1700s introduced an plethora of plant collection, but no definitive way to catalogue them. Carl Linny, the son of a Swiss curate, began to publish catalogs of the known plants. Linny was obsessed with sex, and classified the plants according to their method of reproduction. He even named one genus Clitoria. Despite his odd obsession, Linny's classification system was irresistible. He introduced a binomial system of genius and species that is still in use today. Linny had a talent for identifying the salient points of each species. He was the first to classify whales as mammals.

In the quiet plant world, battles rage over taxonomy, or the naming of plants. Grass collectors will argue to no end whether a certain plant should be named Aegilops incurvata or Aegilops ovata. Chrysanthemum growers will shamelessly lobby the International Association of...

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