Robert H. Whittaker classified organisms into five kingdoms. What were these five kingdoms? (A) Eukaryota, Plantae, Animalia, Aves, Reptilia. (B) Monera, Protista, Fungi, Plantae, Animalia. (C) Chordata, Fungi, Plantae, Animalia, Protostomes. (D) Mammalia, Aves, Reptilia, Amphibia, Fish. (E) Monera, Protista, Fungi, Plantae, Mammalia.
To help us answer this question, let’s first understand a little bit about the
history of biological classification and how different scientists have classified
In the 18th century, Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish botanist, developed an early system of
classification. He divided life into two large groups: vegetables, which we would now refer to as
plants, and animals. Linnaeus called these groups kingdoms. In Linnaeus’s system, a third kingdom called Minerals encompasses all nonliving
Robert Whittaker was an American botanist of the 20th century. In contrast to Carl Linnaeus, Whittaker had access to much more technology and
biological knowledge. Using microscopes, scientists had discovered tiny unicellular organisms that did not
possess a nucleus. We now refer to these organisms as prokaryotes. Whittaker classified these prokaryotes into a kingdom called kingdom Monera.
Linnaeus’s system of classification grouped plants and fungi together within the
kingdom vegetable. However, Whittaker knew that the cells of plants contained chloroplasts and were
autotrophic, meaning they could produce their own food. On the other hand, the cells of fungi did not contain chloroplasts, and they could
not produce their own food. Fungi are heterotrophs that must absorb nutrients from their surroundings. Therefore, Whittaker classified fungi into their own kingdom and separated them from
Microscopes and other advances in biology had also helped discover a range of
organisms called protists. These were microscopic organisms that seemed to be neither plant nor animal nor
fungi. And so Whittaker classified them into their own kingdom. And finally one Kingdom has remained the same from Linnaeus to Whittaker, kingdom
Matching our list of Whittaker’s kingdoms to our answer choices, we can see the
correct option is (B). The five kingdoms that Whittaker classified organisms into are kingdom Monera,
Protista, Fungi, Plantae, and Animalia.