This movie requires Flash Player 8. Download Flash Player 8

Issue Features
View this issue online as it looks in print
Discovery Magazine 7/1/2004

Putting Plants and Animals in Their Place

Carl’s father was a preacher, and he wanted his son to grow up to be a preacher, too. One day, Carl’s teacher told his father that he wasn’t doing too well in a few of his classes. It seemed that Carl (short for Carolus) Linnaeus just wasn’t gifted in the areas of study relating to ministry. However, Carl excelled in the sciences, so in 1727, his father let him go to the Uni-versity of Lund to study medicine. Some of the school’s teachers were not very good, so when class ended in the afternoons, Carl studied plants on his own. The next year, Carl moved to Uppsala University, and got a scholarship. Carl kept studying, and in 1730, he discovered how plants reproduce.

As he studied plants, Linnaeus saw things that made each kind of plant different from other kinds of plants. He noticed these characteristics, and put different types of plants in categories—he classifiedthem. Classifying living things is called taxonomy, and Caro-lus Linnaeus is probably the greatest taxonomist in history, because he introduced something brand new: binomial nomenclature. Using binomial nomenclature, Carl gave two special scientific names to each species he found. Most scientists still use binomial nomenclature today. For example, humans are called Homo sapiens, and dogs are called Canis familiaris. Before long, Linnaeus had developed such an extensive system of taxonomy that anytime someone came across an unfamiliar species, he could easily classify it in Carl’s system.

In 1732, Linnaeus classified more living things during his journeys through Lapland and Sweden, and he wrote about what he found. Carl wrote often about God, because he believed that all the amazing kinds of plants and animals were created specially by God. Linnaeus wrote: “One is completely stunned by the incredible resourcefulness of the Creator. I saw the infinite, all-knowing and all-powerful God from behind.… I followed His footsteps over nature’s fields and saw everywhere an eternal wisdom and power, an inscrutable perfection.”

Linnaeus had lots of pets, including a dog named Pompey. Pompey went to worship with Carl on Sundays and sat under the pew. Linnaeus rarely missed a church service, but when he couldn’t come, Pompey went to church anyway, and sat under the pew until the service ended. Carolus Linnaeus kept working as a teacher, doctor, and researcher until a stroke forced him to retire in 1774. He suffered another stroke in 1776, and died in 1778. Carl never became a preacher, but he still influenced many people for good. You can, too!

Copyright © 2004 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

*Please keep in mind that Discovery articles are written for 3rd-6th graders.

This document may be copied, on the condition that it will not be republished in print unless otherwise stated below, and will not be used for any commercial purpose, as long as the following stipulations are observed: (1) Apologetics Press must be designated as the original publisher; (2) the specific Apologetics Press Web site URL must be noted; (3) any references, footnotes, or endnotes that accompany the article must be included with any written reproduction of the article; (4) textual alterations of any kind are strictly forbidden; (5) Some illustrations (e.g., photographs, charts, graphics, etc.) are not the intellectual property of Apologetics Press and as such cannot be reproduced from our site without consent from the person or organization that maintains those intellectual rights; (6) serialization of written material (e.g., running an article in several parts) is permitted, as long as the whole of the material is made available, without editing, in a reasonable length of time; (7) articles, excepting brief quotations, may not be offered for sale or included in items offered for sale; and (8) articles may be reproduced in electronic form for posting on Web sites pending they are not edited or altered from their original written content and that credit is given to Apologetics Press, including the web location from which the articles were taken. Further, documents may not be copied without source statements (title, author, journal title), and the address of the publisher and owner of rights, as listed below.

For catalog, samples, or further information, contact:

Apologetics Press
230 Landmark Drive
Montgomery, Alabama 36117
Phone (334) 272-8558

Web Store

Defending the Faith Study Bible

We are very excited to announce the NEW AP Defending the Faith Study Bible now available.

Featured Audio


Click the following link to visit our Multimedia section.

Featured Audio