This Day in History: 1560-01-17
Gaspard Bauhin was born on this day. He was a Swiss botanist and taxonomist, author of Pinax theatri botanica (1623) which described around 6,000 species and introduced the idea of binomial nomenclature.
Bauhin began the system of plant classification based upon general morphology establishing the first scientific system of nomenclature. He discarded the arbitrary or alphabetical systems formerly used and introduced a method of classification based on natural affinities, grouping plants according to their genera, then giving each species within a genus a descriptive name. Although the concept was not original, he introduced an orderly system of classification which was an improvement over earlier schemes preparing the way for scientists such as John Ray and Linnaeus, and the modern science of taxonomy.