Taxonomy is the science of studying how living things are related to each other on the Tree of Life.
Carlous Linnaeus (1707-1778) developed the modern taxonomic system used today. It is a hierarchial system that groups organisms from species (the most specific) to kingdom. The grouping begins with Kingdom, of which there are five domains: Animalia, Plantae, Fungi, Bacterium, and Protoctista.
After Kingdom follow: phylum, class, order, family, genus and lastly species. These are outlined in the diagram below, which shows how these labels are like an "address" for the organism, beginning with a large grouping and becoming more specific each time. The genus and species names are usually italicized.
Go to the next page to see a larger diagram showing the tree of life.
Here is a tree that shows how all of the shells in the shell kit are related to one another.