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BIO 428: Mammalogy: Home

Taxonomy Sources

Look up the taxonomy (Kingdom, phylum, order, family, genus, species) of your organism in order to search with it.

Use the sources below to look up the taxonomy for a species.

Key Mammalogy Journals

Journal of Mammalogy Current issue

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Mammalogy is a branch of zoology dealing with mammals of the class Mammalia.

Kingdom      Animalia      
  Phylum        Chordata     
    Subphylum   Vertebrata      
      Class           Mammalia

Find out the scientific name (genus and species) of your species. It is the most precise method to acquire information about a species. But take care. The scientific name may have changed in the past. In the 1990s, many DNA lab techniques were improved and became affordable and plentiful; many scientists used them to sequence the DNA of species and compare them to believed related species. As a result, many species were reassigned within the taxonomic hierarchy and renamed appropriately. In addition, even today scientists debate and disagree about the scientific name of some species.

But find out the common names, too, and if there are multiple common names. Some sources will use the scientific name and some will use the common name to reference a species. The professional biology sources will favor the scientific name.

Types of Sources

What you are looking for can make a difference in where you should look. Different types of sources offer different information.

Reference Books:
Reference books, such as encyclopedias and dictionaries, collect accepted facts from the established literature. In health and science, they can be huge and may take years to put together. Therefore, they do not contain the most current information, although they may mention studies that were recent at the the time of publication. But they are a good one-stop-shop to start learning the basics of a topic. 

Books can be quite long and can cover a topic in detail. However, they take about a year to be published so they will not include the latest studies and research. Textbooks and encyclopedias are good for basic information. Further editions of books demonstrate that a source has been updated to reflect new information and may be a standard source in the field. Are there newer editions available?

Journals are intended for professionals, experts, and researchers. Their articles are usually authored by professionals, experts, and researchers. Journal articles are relatively short compared to books so they tend to cover narrow, specific topics. The latest research is published in journals, but it can be difficult to find basic information in journals. Nowadays, most journals have a web site that allows viewing of the table of contents and summaries of articles.  The majority of Journals today are collected electronically however we continue to preserve our older journals in paper and microformats.  All Print Library Journals and Magazines except "Current Periodicals" are now located in the library basement.

Scientific journal articles can be difficult to understand if you don't already have a good background on a topic. Do you need to look at an encyclopedia article to get some background? Do you need to learn more depth about the topic to learn terminology and related theories?

Magazines are intended for popular consumption by the public. They contain the latest basic information.  It can be difficult to obtain researched information from magazines. However, you can find news reports of research that contain clues that allow you to track down the original research article.  Most ISU magazine subscriptions today are electronic, however, we do continue to preserve our older magazines in paper and microformats.All Print Library Journals and Magazines except "Current Periodicals" are now located in the library basement.

Databases are very useful and efficient tools for searching for sources. Depending on the database, they may include journals, magazines, books, or other sources, too. Every database follows different rules for searching and storage. Effective use depends on knowing those rules. Some commercial databases provide only summaries of articles and do not include full text. Databases can be very expensive and may not be accessible to the general public.

Mammal Image Library

Subject Guide

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