What you’ll learn to do: 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. In other words, a “tree of life” can be constructed to illustrate when different organisms evolved and to show the relationships among different organisms (Figure 1).