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A rule of conduct or procedure established by custom, agreement, or authority. The body of rules and principles governing the affairs of a community and enforced by a political authority; a legal system: international law. The condition of social order and justice created by adherence to such a system: a breakdown of law and civilized behavior. A set of rules or principles dealing with a specific area of a legal system: tax law; criminal law. A piece of enacted legislation. What is Law?


Biology is the science of life. It concerns the characteristics and
behaviors of living things, of both today and long ago, how they come into
being, and what interactions they have with each other and their
environments. The term "biology" was coined in the late 1700s by French
naturalists Pierre-Antoine de Monet and Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck.

Evolution and biology

One of the central, organizing concepts in biology is that all life has
descended from a common origin through a process of evolution. Charles
Darwin was the first to rigorously argue this idea, which he did with his
proposal of natural selection as an evolutionary mechanism. The evolutionary
history of a species (which includes the characteristics of the species from
which it descended) and its relationship to other species is called its
phylogeny. Widely varied approaches to biology generate information about
phylogeny. These include the comparisons of DNA sequences conducted within
molecular biology or genomics, and comparisons of fossils or other records
of ancient organisms in paleontology. Biologists organize and analyze
evolutionary relationships through various methods, including phylogenetics,
phenetics, and cladistics. Major events in the evolution of life, as
biologists currently understand them, are summarized on this evolutionary timeline.

Classification of life

The classification of living things is called systematics, or taxonomy, and
should reflect the evolutionary trees (phylogenetic trees) of the different
organisms. Taxonomy piles up organisms in groups called taxa, while
systematics seeks their relationships. The dominant system is called
Linnaean taxonomy, which includes ranks and binomial nomenclature. How
organisms are named is governed by international agreements such as the
International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN), the International Code
of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN), and the International Code of
Nomenclature of Bacteria (ICNB). A fourth Draft BioCode was published in
1997 in an attempt to standardize naming in the three areas, but it does not
appear to have yet been formally adopted. The International Code of Virus
Classification and Nomenclature (ICVCN) remains outside the BioCode.

Traditionally, living things were divided into five kingdoms:

     Monera -- Protista -- Fungi -- Plantae -- Animalia

However, this five-kingdom system is now considered by many to be outdated,
and if one does not want to hyperinflate the number of kingdoms, one can use
the three-domain system. These domains reflect whether cells have nuclei or
not as well as differences in cell membranes / cell walls.

     Archaea -- Eubacteria -- Eukaryota

The distinction between life and non-life is difficult, there is also a
series of intracellular "parasites" that are progressively less alive in
terms of being metabolically active:

     Viruses -- Viroids -- Prions
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