Main Difference – Taxonomy vs Systematics

Systematics and taxonomy are two concepts related to the study of how life evolved and its ties to time.Taxonomy and systematics differ primarily in the way that taxonomy deals with the classification and naming of organisms, while systematics deals with the determination of evolutionary relationships.Hence, systematics assesses if different organisms share a common ancestry.Different organisms are scientifically named and grouped in different taxonomic levels in taxonomy.Organisms are classified in evolutionary order.Hence, taxonomy can be seen as a branch of systematics.Morphology, behavior, genetics, and biochemistry all play a role in taxonomy and systematics.

Key Areas Covered

Initially:.Taxonomy - Its Definition, Components, Role 2.Systems thinking: What are the components, what is role 3?.Taxonomy and Systematics Have Many Similar Features - Outline of Common Features 4.Differences between Taxonomy and Systematics - Comparison

Kladistics, Classification, Naming, Phylogenetics, Species, Systems, Taxonomy, Taxonomic Levels


What is Taxonomy

Biology describes, names, and classes organisms using taxonomy.Organisms are identified using morphological, behavioral, genetic, and biochemical characteristics.Within the past 250 years, scientists have named 1.78 million species of plants, animals, and microorganisms.Yet an estimated 5 to 30 million species remain undiscovered.Animals, plants, and microorganisms are grouped into different species.A species is a subset of organisms that can interbreed in order to produce fertile offspring.A species is considered the most fundamental level of biological classification.After the species of an organism are classified, they are grouped into larger groups, called taxonomic levels.Species, genera, families, orders, classes, phyla, kingdoms, and domains are the taxonomic levels in ascending order.Red foxes are grouped at different taxonomic levels in figure 1.


Figure 1: Taxonomic classification of the Red Fox

Taxonomists assign distinct names to the different species.

What is Systematics

Organisms are studied and classified in order to determine their evolutionary relationship in systematics.Hence, the systematics is based on both taxonomy and evolution.In systematics, morphology, behavior, genetics, and evolution are used to assess relationships between animals.By using these characteristics, systematics describes organisms through classification, naming, cladistics, and phylogenies.It refers to the classification of organisms based on the descent of different lineages from a common ancestor.According to phylogenetics, groups of organisms are related according to the history of evolution.Phenetics is the study of characteristics of organisms independently of phylogeny.In phylogenetic trees, we show the relationships among organisms.Figure 2 discusses phylogenetics as well as phenetics.


A phylogenetic analysis of phonetics and phylogenetics

Systematics includes taxonomy as one of its components.In systematics, binomial nomenclature is used as well for describing organisms.Additionally, systematics identifies biological enemies of organisms that act as biological controls.

Similarities Between Taxonomy and Systematics

Difference Between Taxonomy and Systematics


In biology, taxonomy refers to a system of classification of organisms.

In systematics, organisms are studied and classified with a view to determining their evolutionary relationship.


Taxonomy is the study of taxa.

The study of systems deals with the relationships between organisms.


Organisms are classified and named according to taxonomy.

Phylogenetics and cladistics are all aspects of systematics.

Evolutionary History

An organism's evolutionary history is not addressed by taxonomy.

It is the study of how organisms have evolved.


Studying taxonomy further can change it.

Further research does not change systematics.


Organisms are described and identified using taxonomy and systematics.The latter concept is part of taxonomy.Taxonomy is the science of naming and classifying organisms.Taxonomy and cladistics are combined in systematics to examine organismal relationships.Taxonomy and systematics differ primarily in the components they use.