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The hierarchy of scientific classification

A phylum (plural: phyla) is the third highest rank used in the biological taxonomy of all organisms. The second rank is kingdom and the highest is domain. Usually biologists count about 32 phyla of animals, about 14 of plants, and about 8 phyla of fungus, but definitions vary.

With genome analysis, groups of phyla have been put together based on evolutionary relationships. These are informal, not part of the standard classification.

Botanists usually prefer the word division instead of phylum.

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  • Hogenboom, Melissa 2015. All animal life in 35 photos. BBC Earth. [1]