The internet has taken to calling seals “sea puppers” or “sea doggos,” evoking the similar appearance and behavior of seals, but the real question is why they appear so similar in the first place? Dogs and seals are both assigned to the Biological Classification Caniformia. This includes dogs, foxes, bears, wolves, raccoons, mustelids, and seals.
Biological Classification: What Is Taxonomy and How Do We Use It?
Taxonomy is the broad, scientific study of classification. Scientists in the taxonomy field piece together information to create comprehensive and rigorous classification systems that we can use in daily life and science. Taxonomists may classify flora, fauna, electric devices, and other tools.
Why Is Taxonomy Important?
Humans constantly try to classify their items; it’s second nature! On a personal level, taxonomy may be used to separate your silverware in the drawer or organize your spice rack. While these are unlikely to yield any groundbreaking scientific research, they’re an essential part of how you interact with the world around you.
What Is Biological Classification?
One facet of taxonomy is the Biological Classification system. This system was developed for use in biological taxonomy, studying the relationships between various plants and animals. The Classification of Life helps us better understand the nearly 2 million described species inhabiting our planet and will help us understand any new species we come across.
The biological classification was first documented by Swedish biologist Carl Linnaeus, also known as Carl von Linné, in 1753. Linnaeus proposed that science adopt a universal standard for naming and classifying animals, and the rest is history since we still use his classification system today!
Biological Classification Made Easy and Where Seals and Dogs Fall
Linnaean Biological Classification is still used today because there’s no reason to fix something that isn’t broken. It works like nesting boxes, with the most prominent “box” being all life on Earth. Linnaean Classification further breaks the hierarchy down until we get to the individual species at the bottom, the smallest “box.”
As we go down the list, seals and dogs will appear in the same classifications until we reach a certain point where animals start to split off into unique, individual types. This is why they occur and act very similarly.
While the idea that seals and dogs might be related could be a head-scratcher for some people, it’s pretty easy to see that these two animals have a common ancestor way back in their lineages. In addition, seals and dogs often have similar dispositions, and their snouts can look identical if you look really fast. So, they are related, but not closely. Thus, it makes sense that they look and act similarly.
Featured Image Credit: Pixabay