Before the advent of the binomial nomenclature, biologist gave species long, unwieldy Latin names. Carl Linnaeus saw the need to develop a simpler, more consistent scheme to classify organisms. He thought the Aristotelian system was too complicated and cumbersome to be useful. Being the practical man that he was Linnaeus devised a system where an organism could be described as belonging to a Kingdom, an Order, a Genus, and finally a Species. The groupings he used were based the shared morphologies of the species. This scheme was much easier to use and proved to be far more practical. Linnaeus’s system proved to be very popular and scientifically sound, since with a few modifications is still in use today. Linnaeus held the belief that it was a naturalist’s job to give God’s creation order, and that his taxonomical scheme did just that.
Early in his career Linnaeus believed that God created all the species just as they are and that they were unchangeable (Glass, 145). In other words, species were fixed through time. He believed that every species was an intermediate between two other species, and did not require spontaneous generation. These intermediates were referred to as “varieties.” To Linnaeus a variety was a species that had been modified by some environmental cause, such as the climate, sun, wind, etc. He even thought that if a variety of a species was brought back to its original environment it somehow revert back to its original form. It wasn’t until a student of his brought a plant to him from an island that seemed to be of a new species.
Over the years Linnaeus noticed that some species could hybridize and form seemingly new species. At this point Linnaeus had abandoned the idea that species were fixed and invariable (Glass 150). Instead he theorized that some if not all species that are present today, had hybridized from the original Genera created by God.
Yet to Linnaeus, the process of generating new species was not open-ended and...