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History of collecting

Joseph Banks  
Sir Hans Sloane
Henry Walter Bates
Charles Darwin
HMS Challenger    

Changing usage

Collections use has changed over the years as techniques have advanced and collections have become larger.


Linnaeus examined the sexual parts of flowers for his first classifications. Today, researchers use many more parts of specimens to classify them - perhaps pollen grain shapes, or leaf structures.

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Learn more about identifying specimens Identifying specimens

Mixtures of traditional and modern techniques are used in identifying new specimens.

Each new technique in taxonomy simply complements existing methods. In this sense, taxonomy is unique among the sciences: old techniques remain important.