Linnaeus in his Lapland Dress
Based on the original etching by Hendrik Hollander
Carl von Linné (Carolus Linnaeus) (1707-1778) was a Swedish botanist, often described as the ‘Father of Taxonomy’. He invented the idea of binomial nomenclature, in which every organism has both a genus (general) and species (special) name. A highly religious man, Linnaeus believed that he had been put on Earth to classify nature according to God’s order. By arranging organisms according to physical characteristics, Linnaeus laid the groundwork for the insights of Charles Darwin. Scientists still use the basic structure of his system to classify plants and animals.