Phylogenetic tree  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A phylogenetic tree or evolutionary tree is a branching diagram or "tree" showing the inferred evolutionary relationships among various biological species or other entities based upon similarities and differences in their physical and/or genetic characteristics. The taxa joined together in the tree are implied to have descended from a common ancestor. In a rooted phylogenetic tree, each node with descendants represents the inferred most recent common ancestor of the descendants, and the edge lengths in some trees may be interpreted as time estimates. Each node is called a taxonomic unit. Internal nodes are generally called hypothetical taxonomic units (HTUs) as they cannot be directly observed. Trees are useful in fields of biology such as systematics and comparative phylogenetics.


The "tree of life"

  • Evolutionary history of life - An overview of the major time periods of life on earth
  • Life - The top level for Wikipedia articles on living species, reflecting a diversity of classification systems.
  • Three-domain system (cell types)
  • Wikispecies - An external Wikimedia Foundation project to construct a "tree of life" appropriate for use by scientists

Fields of study




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Phylogenetic tree" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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