Chapter

Evolutionary Biology

pp 45-78

Five-Kingdom Classification and the Origin and Evolution of Cells

  • Lynn MargulisAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, Boston University

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Abstract

This chapter will argue that modern biologists, in spite of social pressures and historical precedents, need to replace the traditional two-kingdom animal-plant distinction, which has outlived its usefulness, with a multikingdom classification of living organisms. For reasons discussed below, based on recent discoveries from a variety of disciplines, it seems that Whittaker’s five-kingdom system (Whittaker, 1969) is the most logical and consistent yet devised. Whittaker’s system is expanded below the phylum level and slightly modified on the basis of cell evolutionary considerations; suggestions for its adoption by zoologists, botanists, and microbiologists are made.*