"Linnaean Scala Naturae"

Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) was a Swedish scientist who is considered the father of modern taxonomy.  His major work was the Systema Naturae, which divided the animal, plant and mineral kingdoms into the structure of classes, orders, genera and species.  This system was the scientific standard by the end of the 18th century and is the foundation for modern systems of taxonomy.  Linnaeus did not, however, move beyond this taxonomy to theories of evolution: his views on the origin of species can be gathered from his repeated maxim "Deus creavit, Linnaeus disposuit" (God created, Linnaeus organised).

The Scala Natura is a conception of the ordering of all living creatures on a hierarchical scale from the most basic and base natural elements at the bottom to God at the very top.  The origin of this idea is often attributed to Aristotle, a Greek philosopher of the 4th century BCE.