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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

A New Tree of Life

A New Tree of Life

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Tuesday, November 20, 2018/Categories: natural history, wildlife conservation, birds, marine mammals, marine life, sustainability, art and design, environment, plants

A Tree of Life in the Norse Sagas (credit: Wiki-commons)

In one form or another, the Tree of Life is a common symbol in most of the worlds religious traditions. All "trees" attempt to tell an origin story of one sort or another. Biology is no exception and compiling all living organisms into a correct evolutionary "tree" has been like the searching for a Holy Grail of the life sciences. However, it has been a daunting task considering at least 2.3 million species are known to live on Earth so far.

Publishing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), researchers at the University of Michigan and elsewhere have compiled a comprehensive tree-of-life
. Their study is the first to apply an efficient and automated process for combining existing trees into a complete assemblage. The visualization and related open-source data is available to download. The new digital "Tree" is readily updated as new species data becomes available.

               
                                                      New Open-source Tree of Life  (credit: PNAS)

The PNAS article is available here and a short video explains the importance and utility of the new construct:



Where are you on the Tree of Life?

WHB

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