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Classification of living organisms

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The tree of life

Living organisms can be separated into many different groups. Some groups are very large and diverse, while others are smaller and reveal more specific features.

The ‘tree of life’ shows the relationships between these groups and organisms. Like tree branches, each group can be further divided into smaller groups, and at the end of a twig, each leaf represents a single organism.

Explore the ‘tree of life’ below by clicking on the different branches.

Here are some definitions of animals you might not have heard of: annelid, arachnid, mollusc.

Fact file

There are almost 8 billion (8,000,000,000) human beings on Earth. This is unusually high for animals of our size, but also very little compared to other living things. Take a look at the image below to learn more about these organisms.