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My favorite one is the ancient Chinese classification of animals from the Encyclopaedia of Benevolent Knowledge: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celestial_Emporium_of_Benevolent_Knowledge Unfortunately, the primary source did not survive :-)


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A hierarchic process of producing taxonomies was formalized by 3rd century AD logician Porphyry in his presentation of Aristotle's classification of categories, and became popular during middle ages in a diagrammatic form of "Porphyrian tree". One starts with the highest category in a field, "summum genus", and proceeds in successive steps by using "...


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Linnean taxonomy was very much the progression and refinement of earlier taxonomic thoughts. This answer draws heavily from "Linnaeus as an Intermediary between Ancient and Modern Zoölogy; His Views on the Class Mammalia" by W. K. Gregory (1908). Gregory notes several major figures in the history of taxonomic nomenclature before Linnaeus: Aristotle (384–...


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