Researchers draft the first comprehensive tree of life

The virtual tree of life

It’s very poetic to talk about a tree of life, where every species can trace its roots, but actually illustrating this tree is no mean feat when Earth has been home to at least 2.3 million known species. However, scientists have finally given it a shot. They’ve published the first draft of a comprehensive tree of life that shows every major evolutionary branch, ranging from the very first organisms to complex beings like humans. This isn’t a complete tree, of course (it’s doubtful that we’ll ever know all the species that ever existed), but it beats the patchwork from before.

The best part is that this tree isn’t buried inside an academic paper or otherwise hidden to the public. Its creators have posted the tree of life online (it’s down as I write this, likely due to high traffic), including both the pure data and the source code for tying it all together. If you need to trace the history of a species any time soon, this may be your go-to resource.

[Image credit: Duke University]

Via: Phys.org, Gizmodo

Source: Duke University, PNAS, Open Tree of Life

from Engadget http://ift.tt/1Qr4zeX
via IFTTT

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s