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Biology LibreTexts

1: A Macroevolutionary Research Program

  • Page ID
    21578
    • 1.1: Introduction
      There is, perhaps, no more evocative symbol of this grand view of evolution over deep time than the tree of life. This branching phylogenetic tree connects all living things through a series of splitting events to a single common ancestor. Recent research has dramatically increased our knowledge of the shape and form of this tree. The tree of life is a rich treasure-trove of information, telling us how species are related to one another, and how life has evolved.
    • 1.2: The roots of comparative methods
    • 1.3: A brief Introduction to Phylogenetic Trees
      The difficulty of building phylogenies is currently reflected in the challenge of reconstructing the tree of life. Some parts of the tree of life are still unresolved even with the tremendous amounts of genomic data that are now available. Accordingly, scientists have devoted a focused effort to solving this difficult problem. There are now a large number of fast and efficient computer programs aimed solely at reconstructing phylogenetic trees.
    • 1.4: What we can (and can’t) learn about evolutionary history from living species
    • 1.5: Overview of the book
      Some methods  for analyzing comparative data – such as those for estimating patterns of speciation and extinction through time – require an ultrametric phylogenetic tree. Other approaches model trait evolution, and thus require data on the traits of species that are included in the phylogenetic tree. The methods also differ as to whether or not they require the phylogenetic tree to be complete –e.g., to include every living species descended from a certain ancestor.
    • 1.S: A Macroevolutionary Research Program (Summary)