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downward classificationAbwärtsklassifikation (ger.)

  • A process of classification that starts from the highest taxonomic levels such as phyla or classes.

    I have mainly adhered to the downward classification of Dr. Carpenter’s “Zoology”

    Twining, T. (1876). Science Made Easy, Lecture VIII. Outlines of The Animal Kingdom: 32b.


    It is the abandonment of the principle of upward classification, dominant since Darwin, and its replacement by Aristotle’s downward classification which is the fatal flaw in the philosophy of cladistic classification.

    Mayr, E. (1974). Cladistic analysis or cladistic classification? Z. zool. Syst. Evolutionsforsch. 12, 94-128. (in: Evolution and the Diversity of Life, Cambridge, Mass., 433-476): 448.


    The principles of downward classification by logical division are basically very simple.

    Mayr, E. (1982). The Growth of Biological Thought: 159.