(Phylogenetic) Tree of Life

I was cleaning out some old notebooks this weekend when I tripped across an old phylogenetic tree diagram (possibly from invertebrate zoology?). The one I had to memorize was much less complicated than the one below.


These are so cool. It’s basically a map of how biologists think every species is related, beginning with a common ancestor in the center and working out. It was something originally conceptualized by Darwin. The final visual effect is beautiful. It reminds me a lot of a nautilus shell, or maybe some fancy piece of sci-fi tech.

This one comes from a site hosted by Texas Citizens for Science. It is a rather charged article, so read with a critical mind if you’re going to. You can view and explore a high resolution pdf version too. If you zoom in at the perimeter, you can see every species known at the time this particular tree was drawn.



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