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Classifying Critters

Scientists have a special system to keep track of plants and animals. They don't want to confuse a dog with a coyote, or a honey bee with a killer bee.

Every kind of plant or animal belongs to its own group, or "species." Similar species belong to a larger group, called a "genus." For example, dogs and wolves are two species. They are cousins belonging to the same "genus" (Canis) and the same "family:" canines, or Canidae.

These families belong to larger groups, too. Today, we'll look at members of a big group called the vertebrates. These are animals that have backbones. Do you have a backbone? Great. You're part of this group!

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Contributed by the Science Scene: KIDS and TEENS, Chicago Academy of Sciences

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