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    How to make and solve a classification key

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    In the animal kingdom, you can place animals in categories based on certain differences in the characteristics that each possesses. If you know what critical traits to look for, it is possible to separate any animal into its proper taxonomic category. Use this dichotomous key (attached) to help determine the taxonomic category to which a specific organism belongs.

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    Solution Preview

    Dichotomous keys sound much more intimidating than they need to be. I hope I can help you pick your way through this problem and have some fun at the same time.

    Dichotomy suggests two possible answers or directions and that is exactly how you go about solving this particular problem. Start at the first question and choose one of the two answers. Once you have made that decision you will either as in the case of this particular Key be putting your organism into the phylum Porifera (Hint this is unlikely as this only includes sponges!!!!) or decide that it has a regular body with right and left halves or a cylindrical shape.

    I think you will be moving on to question 2, in each case, here you need to know the difference between bilateral and radial symmetry. If an organism has a right and left half which more or less match, this is referred to as bilateral ...

    Solution Summary

    Many students of biology struggle with the technique of using a key to classify organisms. With the problem set by the student here a step by step approach is given so that the student can
    a) use a key to classify an organism
    b) construct a key for future use