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Species Definition: Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:04 What Is a Species?
  • 0:54 The Classification System
  • 1:42 Examples
  • 2:37 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Alexandra Owens

Alexandra has taught middle school science and has a master's degree in Math and Science Education.

Have you ever heard the term homo sapiens? That is the scientific name for the human species. You are part of a species that is different from all other animals! Learn more about what makes a species in this lesson.

What Is a Species?

You may have heard the word 'species' before and wondered what it meant. 'Species' is usually used when comparing two animals or perhaps when someone has discovered a new species. 'Species' is just a way of classifying living things. Classifying means organizing or comparing. You may have classified a collection of things before, or maybe you classify your clothes in your closet by where you put it on your body or even by length and color.

A species is the most detailed form of classification of living things. For example, you might group all my blue jeans together in my closet. In living things, a species is a group of similar individuals that are able to reproduce. There are estimated to be about nine million species on Earth! Let's learn more about how species are classified.

The Classification System

Scientists classify living things to show their similarities and differences.

There are eight major levels of this classification system:

  • Domain
  • Kingdom
  • Phylum
  • Class
  • Order
  • Family
  • Genus
  • Species

Some people remember this using a silly saying like 'Dear King Philip Came Over For Good Spaghetti,' which uses the first letter of each level.

The kingdoms are the largest groups in the classification system. They include kingdoms like plants, animals, and fungi. Then, as you work your way down through the system, you get more and more specific until you reach the species. For example, cats belong to the kingdom with all the other animals, but they are their own individual species.

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