To simplify the study of living organisms, they are classified into convenient categories based on their characteristics, known as taxonomy. Over the years, biologists have developed many methods and techniques that help in taxonomic studies. These are known as taxonomical aids. Examples of taxonomical aids include herbariums, botanical gardens, museums, zoological parks and keys.
A herbarium is a storehouse, where a collection of dried plant specimens are mounted on sheets, labelled and systematically arranged, based on the universally accepted system of classification. A botanical garden contains a wide variety of plants for scientific research, conservation, display and education. Each plant is labelled with its botanical or scientific name and family. Biological museums have collections of preserved plants and animals, which are used for study and reference. They are preserved in jars using preservative solutions or as dry specimens. Zoological parks are places which house wild animals in a protected environment, similar to their natural habitats under human supervision.
A biological key is a list of questions that helps to identify and classify plants and animals. Each question presents contrasting characters of an organism in a pair called a couplet. To classify the organism, the character similar to the organism has to be chosen. So, in a couplet, one character is accepted and the other is rejected. Answering the questions in an analytical manner helps in identifying the organism. Separate taxonomic keys are required for each taxonomic category such as family, genus and species, for the purpose of identification. Other taxonomical aids like flora, manuals and monographs are also used.