The scientific naming system that is used world-wide today was first devised by Swedish naturalist Carolus Linnaeus in 1737. He proposed a two-part naming system which classifies every living organism with a string of Latin and Greek identifiers. Full names are devised starting with kingdom and extending downward through phylum, subphylum, class, order, family, genus and species. The binomal nomenclature (two-part name), consists of the genus and species of the organism and is used to prevent the confusion that may arise with common names.
The binomial nomenclature of an organism belongs to a universal format: the genus of the organism is the first name, is always capitalized, and acts as a noun. The species of the organism is always the second name, is minuscule (lower-case), and acts as an adjective. Take, for example, the cougar. The cougar's genus is Puma, and its species is known as concolor. The entire name would read as follows: Puma concolor, or P. concolor for short.