Outcome: Phylogenetic Trees

Read and analyze a phylogenetic tree that documents evolutionary relationships.

In scientific terms, the evolutionary history and relationship of an organism or group of organisms is called phylogeny. Phylogeny describes the relationships of an organism, such as from which organisms it is thought to have evolved, to which species it is most closely related, and so forth. Phylogenetic relationships provide information on shared ancestry but not necessarily on how organisms are similar or different.

What You’ll Learn to Do

  • Identify how and why scientists classify the organisms on earth.
  • Differentiate between a rooted and an unrooted phylogenetic tree.
  • Discuss branch points in a phylogenetic tree and what these points indicate.
  • Identify some limitations of phylogenetic trees.
  • Relate the taxonomic classification system and binomial nomenclature.

Learning Activities

The learning activities for this section include the following:

  • Reading: Scientific Classification
  • Reading: Structure of a Phylogenetic Tree
  • Reading: Limitation of Phylogenetic Trees
  • Reading: The Taxonomic Classification System
  • Self Check: Phylogenetic Trees